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Bulldogs & Beyond: Toby Rowland about the current situation

Updated: Jun 25, 2020

I had the great pleasure of interviewing a man I look up to. He is the voice of the Oklahoma Sooners, Toby Rowland.

Toby Rowland. Photo provided.
Toby Rowland. Photo provided.

By Greydon Buhlig

For The Southwestern

I had the great pleasure of interviewing a man I look up to. He is the voice of the Oklahoma Sooners, Toby Rowland.

He has been at Oklahoma since 2011 when he got the job after play-by-play legend Bob Barry retired. Ever since then, he has announced several sports at Oklahoma and is a huge voice for the university.

We discussed the times, as if you can’t not talk about it, his experiences at OU, and what we are looking forward to most about the future.

At first we began talking about how the world needs a break from all the negativity. He told me that he is a news junkie, but at night he needs to watch an old game, a television show, just something to get all of the negativity out of his mind. He has been collecting videos from Sooner fans across the country and doing voice overs of him commentating, giving play-by-play of what they are doing. He says that this gives him something else to think about, and keeps him from getting rusty

“I am so thankful to the people, who took a leap of faith on a 37-year-old, I owe them a debt of gratitude.”

He spoke very highly of the people who hired him, Joe Castiglione, Bob Stoops and former Oklahoma President David Boren, and how they took a chance on him being so young and not necessarily as experienced as some people gunning for the position. He has had amazing experiences, whether it was Buddy Hield and that team who went on to the Final Four, or Oklahoma beating Alabama back in 2014 in the Sugar Bowl. These moments gave fans great memories, and they will last a lifetime. Those memories are even more savory when the bad times come. He remembers the ’88 national championship game where Oklahoma lost to Kansas by four.

“All they had to do was beat Kansas, and I was just stunned and devastated … not to have that championship banner hanging in the Lloyd Noble Center, that hurts.”

It is these moments that make the good times so much better. Now, Oklahoma football fans are still waiting to grab that eighth national championship and have been close several times. It is still impressive that they have made the College Football Playoff five out of the last six years, and that is an achievement in itself.

The last time OU made it to the big game was ’08. I was 9 years old and was so excited, never been more excited. Oklahoma went on to lose to a great team in Florida, led by Tim Tebow, I cried. But both of us know that they will be back there soon.

Rowland wants people to stay strong and know that sports will back.

“Part of the rebuilding is a shared experience through sports. We are a little discombobulated right now, we are thrown off, but this is going to be over. Just have to remain strong.”

Remain strong. I hope you all stay safe, do the things you are supposed to do, and we will be back to a certain type of normalcy. It may not be the exact same as it was in the past, but the world will be back on track.

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