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1970 - Jeff Bennet

Tuesday, July 10, 2007  
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The Oklahoman honored OC’s own Jeff Bennett on its list of the 100 greatest athletes in state history.

Bennett, who placed fourth in the decathlon at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games, was No. 91 on the list, which was published in Sunday’s newspaper.

The Vinita, Okla., native scored 7,974 points in the Olympic decathlon, finishing just 10 points behind the bronze medalist. Bennett had the best mark of the 33 competitors in the pole vault and placed second in the 400 and 1,500 meters.

Prior to his Olympic success, Bennett won three NAIA national championships representing Oklahoma Christian: one in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles (1968) and two in the decathlon (1969, 1970).

The four-time NAIA All-American still holds OC records in the 400 hurdles (51.44) and the decathlon (8,071 points). He was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1976 and was a charter honoree of the OC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991.

Bennett went on to win the AAU national championship in the decathlon in 1973, setting a personal record of 8,121 points in the process.

Bennett now is an assistant coach for OC’s track and field program and also serves as the university’s associate dean of students.

Prior to returning to Oklahoma Christian in 2003, he spent 28 years in public education – teaching, counseling and serving as an administrator in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. He also served in the U.S. Army National Guard for 32 years, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

The Oklahoman published its list of the state’s 100 greatest athletes in conjunction with the Oklahoma Centennial. Click here to see the complete list.


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