Cameron prepares to honor its gridiron heroes (copy)

It’s been many years since Cameron University hosted a fall homecoming. But that will change – in a special way – this weekend when the university honors the gridiron heroes responsible for bringing national championships to Lawton. An “Aggie Football Reunion” will take place Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27-28, at sites on the Cameron campus and in Lawton. Despite the fact that CU no longer has a football team, the players, cheerleaders, coaches and others involved in the program have not been forgotten. This weekend’s reunion gives Cameron a chance to honor those athletes for the fame their success brought to the university. The event is open to former players and their spouses, coaches, cheerleaders, band members and fans. Reservations are required to attend the Aggie Football Reunion. For more information, contact 580-581-2291.

Since 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of Cameron’s final football national title – the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Division I National Championship in 1987 – the focus will be on the team coached by Brian Naber that went 11-2 and defeated Carson-Newman 30-2 in Cameron Stadium.

Cameron’s legendary football program goes much deeper than the 1987 NAIA national title. During its junior college years, when the university was known as Cameron State Agricultural College, the Aggies captured four National Junior College Athletic Association crowns – 1931, 1941, 1960 and 1961 – and were runners up in 1947 and 1964.Along the way, they won five bowl games, including the Eastern Bowl in 1939, the Papoose Bowl in 1946, the Junior Rose Bowl in 1961 and two Boot Hill Bowls (1970 and 1980).

This weekend’s reunion will honor all players who contributed to Cameron’s gridiron success over the decades, including the undefeated 1961 Junior Rose Bowl team that topped Bakersfield College 28-20 in Pasadena, Calif., under head coach Leroy Montgomery. It marked the first junior college national title for an Oklahoma football team.

The football reunion begins at 8 p.m. Friday with a social event in the Apache Casino Hotel’s 360 Restaurant. It continues Saturday with breakfast and registration at 8 a.m. in the McMahon Centennial Complex on the CU campus, followed by a question-and-answer session at 8:30 a.m., a historical presentation on Aggie football at 9:30 a.m. and a celebration of the 1987 NAIA champions at 10:45 a.m., followed by lunch and photos.

Cameron’s association with football extends back to its days as a high school. It was in 1912 – a scant four years after its founding – that the Cameron State School of Agriculture formed its first team, coached by school president R.K. Robertson. During those years, both Lawton High School and Fort Sill were frequent opponents, as were other high schools in the region.

Cameron expanded its play when it transitioned to a junior college in the late 1920s and joined the Oklahoma Junior College Conference. Over a span of 17 years, the Aggies won 11 conference titles while losing only 25 games, creating excitement among students and community supporters – and a tradition of excellence that continued for decades. When Roosevelt Field – known to Lawton fans today as Ron Stephens Stadium – was built in the mid-1930s, it became home field for Aggie football until a stadium was built on campus.

Cameron transitioned to four-year university status in 1966, and that set the stage for its opportunity to win the NAIA title. In 1986, the Aggies were regularly listed in Top 20 polls, amassing 11 wins and finishing the season as the national runners-up to Carson-Newman.CU got its revenge the next year when it won the national title on its home field, easily beating Carson-Newman on a chilling December afternoon.

Faced with rising operational costs, declining attendance tied to competition from Oklahoma’s two big-name football programs, cuts in state funding, the transition from the NAIA to the NCAA’s Division II, and a struggle to meet federal Title IX compliance, CU was forced to disband its storied football program at the conclusion of the 1992 season.

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October 24, 2017