Bulldogs Bringing Back Winning Tradition

Thursday, July 28th 2011, 6:02 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Jan 13, 2011 7:38 PM CDT

Carson Cunningham
Oklahoma Sports Reporter

EDMOND, Okla. -- A picture of the 1993 state championship basketball team is proudly displayed in Mike de la Garza's office.

De la Garza coached the Edmond Memorial boys to the first and only state championship that season. Today he serves as Memorial's athletic director.

Edmond Public Schools split into three high schools a year later. Memorial produced title contenders in 1999 and 2002 but has failed to win another gold ball. "All of our sports took a big hit when we split into three," de la Garza said.

This season, Memorial is back on the map. The Bulldogs are undefeated (11-0) and ranked No. 1 in the state.

Edmond is led by senior Obi Emegano. The Western Illinois signee averages 17 points per game.

"It's been a lot of hard work," Emegano said. "We're just trying not to get too cocky."

Supporting Emegano are brothers Jordan and James Woodard. Both are skilled shooters and helped Memorial win the Skiatook Invitational a week ago. The two are just a year apart: James is a junior, Jordan is a sophomore.

"It's a good feeling playing with him because we have that chemistry," James Woodard said. "We know what each other will do.”

The program's revival began with the hiring of coach Shane Cowherd five years ago. Memorial continued to improve and this past season the 'Dogs made the playoffs for the first times in eight years.

De la Garza said he hired Cowherd on instinct.

"I called him about this job and his wife answered," de la Garza said. "He was at a team camp with his next year's freshmen -- that's in the summer. That told me right there that this guy was interested in his kids and interested in his program."

Memorial knows the season is still young, but the Bulldogs have their sights set on hanging a second state championship banner.

"I'm really excited we have this good of a team that can make a run for it all because I know how much fun it is," de la Garza said. "If they could experience that, it would make my year.”