Alumni Spring 2023

God Led Way to Reinvention

Many on Bison Hill demonstrated care to Danny Garringer, ’70, while he was a student athlete; he has spent a lifetime paying it forward.

Two carboard boxes of well-worn clothes and $30 of crinkled up currency stuffed in the pocket of a faded pair of jeans.

Materially that was it. That was Danny Garringer’s inventory of possessions when he arrived on the OBU campus.

He’d grown up in what he describes as the rather insulated small-town environment of Glencoe, Oklahoma. In a way that was bad because everyone knew his story. Yet in another way, that was good, because there were those who knew his story, but cared how it would turn out.

“My mother suffered from mental illness, and we grew up without a father; actually, without any real adults in the household as my 19-year-old brother was the wage earner,” Garringer said. “The town, church and school did indeed serve ‘in loco parentis’ for me and my brothers. I developed a love of sports and a voracious reading habit, both of which served me well along the way.”

In addition to his hometown, OBU welcomed him in. He was encouraged to try out for the Bison basketball team and was offered a scholarship that carried with it far more than financial value.

“I had almost no social graces; I saw myself from the perspective of my family, and had never been really challenged in academics,” he recalls. “It took a number of lessons but my eventual success in athletics and my ability to read and comprehend, along with the accepting nature of OBU allowed me time to reinvent myself.”

The Reinvented Danny Garringer

Garringer graduated from OBU in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts in history. He went on to receive a master’s degree in 1973 from what is now the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.

He’s been a great educator, coach and mentor to hundreds of young people who he has taught and worked with for more than four decades at schools in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Garringer served on the state social studies committee for the development of criteria and objectives for the Missouri Mastery Test Program, led Teacher In-Service Programs for Higher Learning Skills and Teaching Methods for Effective Classroom Learning in Joplin, Missouri and was the department chair for social studies at Joplin Missouri High School for eight years.

Following college, Garringer coached for 47 years (17 in Oklahoma, 14 in Missouri, and 16 in Arkansas). As a coach, he was honored as conference coach of the year numerous times – four for baseball, five for boys’ basketball, eight for girls’ basketball, and two for girls’ softball.

While in Missouri, his Joplin Parkwood High baseball team won the state 4A baseball title in 1984, and in Arkansas, his Mountainburg girls’ basketball team was State 2A Runner Up in 2014. In the case of the latter, he was named the 2014 girls’ basketball coach of the year by the Fort Smith Media.

In 2019, he led an International Sports Federation basketball mission trip to Cape Town, South Africa.

True he arrived at OBU with little. However, while in Shawnee, he gained more than knowledge and playing time – he grew in his in faith.

Garringer has served as a deacon in Baptist churches in three states, including his current church home of Main Street Baptist Church in Farmington, Arkansas. He’s led many Sunday School classes and has been a pulpit supply preacher in three states.

He met Kathy Crittendon on Bison Hill and they married the day they graduated in 1970. They have three sons, Joel, Ben and Dylan and four grandchildren.

A Winding Road

Garringer looks back on life and appreciates not only the straight stretches he’s traveled, but the curves as well.

Why is that?

Because only God could have been leading the way.

Garringer’s high school career began at Glencoe (1963-65) and ended at Stillwater (1965-66). He averaged 16.6 points per game as a senior and was a Tulsa World Alternate All State player.

“I had some idea about OBU because Coach Bob Bass’ wife was the sister of our hometown banker’s daughter-in-law,” he said. “I had moved to Stillwater my senior year and my pastor at Hillcrest Baptist, Harry Boydstun, actually encouraged me to visit and try out for the basketball team at OBU. He drove me down for my tryout. I was offered a scholarship and just felt it was a good fit for a lifetime Baptist.”

Garringer had little idea how college life worked, so much so that he had to take the ACT after coming to OBU before he could enroll that afternoon.

“I struggled academically my first year but was encouraged by Dr. [John] Eighmy, Bob Scrutchins, Dr. [James Samuel] Timberlake, Coach [Gene]Wallace, and John Parrish, among others, to continue,” he said.

Garringer prospered at OBU after “righting the ship.”

“I also began dating Kathy and attending University Baptist where Jerry Barnes had a great influence on me,” he said. “I was and remain a Hershel Hobbs Southern Baptist. Grady Cothen, then OBU President, was also a real influence on my faith and my time at OBU.”

Too, he found great strength on the court with teammates Al Tucker, Allan Eaker, Bob Banfield, Jon Singleton and others.

Garringer played for the Bison from 1966-70. At OBU, he scored 997 points and averaged 15.5 points his senior year. The team was the NAIA National Runner Up in 1967 and the conference champions in 1970. In his final year at OBU, Garringer was named Senior Athlete of the Year and Homecoming Best All-Around Man.

Basketball also contributed to Garringer’s social and political awareness, which was forged from the ’60s, the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement.

“Watching the treatment my Black teammates often received was a strong influence on me,” he said. “I felt strongly, that indeed, Black Lives Mattered. Social awareness became an integral part of my faith. OBU, unlike so many other places at the time, was a much more accepting and open place both academically and socially.”