McPherson became USAO’s athletic director in 2002.
For the next 11 years, he served as both athletic director and head men's basketball coach before stepping down from basketball following the 2012-13 season.
Finishing up his 22nd season as head coach this year, McPherson collected 309 wins in his tenure. He earned his 300th in a January upset over No. 9 Rogers State. At the beginning of last season, he was the 22nd Winningest Active Coach in the NAIA.
In November of 2012, McPherson was inducted into the USAO Athletic Hall of Fame, and that same day, the USAO Fieldhouse floor was dedicated to him and renamed Brisco McPherson Court.
As head coach, McPherson took the Drovers to six NAIA National Championship tournament appearances, including back-to-back trips to the final game in the early 2000s. In 2002, the Drovers claimed the school’s only NAIA National Title.
He has won four conference Coach of the Year awards and holds school records for the best regular season (29-3) and most wins in a season (29), both set in the 2000-01 season. With him as coach, the Drovers have claimed four conference titles.
McPherson has been involved with the university nearly the entire 40 years of its athletic programs. Playing on the first men’s basketball team at the college, then the Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts, McPherson still ranks among the school’s all-time leaders in scoring, shooting percentage and rebounds. Additionally, he was the school’s second member of the 1,000-Point Club.
McPherson graduated from USAO in 1976 with bachelor’s degrees in sociology and psychology. He received his master’s degree in physical education from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1984.
Over the years, McPherson also coached men’s tennis for a short time. For 11 years before taking over as head coach, he was an assistant of the men’s basketball program at USAO. Only three of the last 40 years did McPherson spend away from the institution.
"It is high time that the ideal of success should be replaced by the ideal of service." - Albert Einstein
Kelly Brown has been a member of the faculty at USAO since 2002. She is the director of Nash Library.
She is a member of the American Library Association, Association of College & Research Libraries, and the Society of American Archivists.
Before coming to USAO, Brown was a librarian/instructor at East Central University. Prior to that, she served as the rare books librarian at Clendening History of Medicine Library and reference librarian/internet resource specialist at Dykes Library, both at the Kansas University Medical Center.
Mike Ross became USAO's head baseball coach in 2009.
Ross was an assistant coach at the university beginning in 2005 and was a student assistant from 2000-2002, both under the direction of long-time Head Coach L.J. Powell.
Ross began playing collegiate baseball in 1995 for Redlands Community College, where his team became conference and regional champions and finished fifth in the JUCO World Series. The following year, Ross moved to Graceland University, where he played for three seasons, two of which he served as team captain. He set the school record for saves in both the 1998 and 1999 seasons and was named All- Conference in 1999.
Ross had brief stints coaching a premier league summer team in Burkburnett, Texas, as assistant coach at Vernon College and as an assistant coach in the 2004 Junior Olympic trials before finding his way back to USAO, where he had been a 2002 graduate.
At USAO, Ross helped Powell turn the program around from one of the team’s worst years to the best school finish in 2007, something the university has continued to improve on since.
Ross has recruited and developed three pitchers who were later drafted to Major League Baseball.
He lives in Chickasha with his wife, Robyn, and their 2-year-old son, Brody.
Physical Education Building
"Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity." -- Aristotle
Ph.D., Chemical Education, University of Northern Colorado, 1997
Dissertation Title: Student Conceptions of Equilibrium and Fundamental Thermodynamic Concepts in College Physical Chemistry
Comprehensive Examinations Passed: Physical Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Chemical Education
Dr. Peter Thomas has been a member of the USAO faculty since 1997. He teaches in four areas: chemistry (general and physical chemistry), science education (science for elementary teachers, secondary science teaching methods, and supervises student teachers and first year teachers), basic earth science (introductory geology, meteorology, astronomy, and oceanography), and developmental mathematics (basic math and algebra skills).
Dr. Thomas continually collects and analyzes data regarding the performance of our science teaching candidates to help design and maintain the accreditation of the USAO Science Teacher Program. Using this data, he then devises and writes the USAO Science Program Report for the Oklahoma Department of Education and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
Dr. Thomas’s other publications include Acid-Base Chemistry in Biological Context, College Physical Chemistry Students’ Conceptions of Equilibrium and Fundamental Thermodynamics, and Parametric Study of Exploding Wire Continuum Radiation.
Dr. Thomas serves as the faculty sponsor of the Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society for First Year Students. He is also the co-director and one of the instructors for the USAO Brain Waves Gifted Camps.
Before coming to USAO, Dr. Thomas held several positions at the University of Northern Colorado in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry including adjunct professor, laboratory coordinator, co-host of the NSF-funded workshop “Developing Your Physical Chemistry Laboratory," laboratory instructor, tutor, and instructor of chemistry and physics at the university high school. Prior to that he was an electrical engineer for the Hewlett-Packard Company for eleven years working on the design of printer products and new manufacturing processes.
Dr. Nancy Warden has earned numerous teaching awards, including her selection in 2009 by readers of the Chickasha Express-Star as Favorite University Educator.
Warden received the Outstanding Service Award from the Oklahoma Council of Teachers of Mathematics in 2008 and received a Present Service Award from the Oklahoma Council of Teachers of Mathematics in 1999.
She received the USAO Regents Award for Superior Teaching in 1984 and 1988 and was awarded the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation's State Alumni Hall of Fame Recognition in 2006.
In addition to research projects and publications, Warden makes presentations at professional meetings and schools that include The Math Lady is a MathMagician!; Optical Illusions: Mathematical Applications; Make and Take Origami -- A Monster Stellated Icosahedrom; Careers in Mathematics; Optical Illusions and Standards; Math Magic in the Classroom; Testing Hypotheses in Elementary Statistics; Mathematics and Communication and others.
Warden has served on the USAO faculty since 1980. Before coming to USAO, she was a teacher and chairman of the Secondary Mathematics Department at Chickasha High School for two years, a math teacher at Minco High School and a teaching assistant at the University of Oklahoma.
Warden is a member of the American Mathematics Competitons, Mathematical Association of America, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Oklahoma Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Outside of the classroom, Warden is seen frequently at Drover basketball games, softball games, baseball games, at music concerts and other college events. Warden, along with Dr. Linda Crumb and Fred Kemper, wrote words to the Drover Fight Song.
She has served many years as a Grady County 4-H Volunteer Leader and continues to host the annual Grady County Speech and Illustrated Presentations event on the USAO campus. Warden is a member of the Circle of Champions for the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation and served a four-year term on the foundation's Board of Directors.
Active in her state and national professional associations and recognized for novel approaches to teaching physical education, Dr. Nancy Osborn, associate professor of physical education, has served on the USAO faculty since 1992.
For one independent study project in 2006, Osborn led a group of students to study the famed travels of Lewis and Clark, to experience their journey, food, clothes and culture of the period. Following their research, her students were required to offer a public presentation on such things as canoe making, tipi construction, native weapons and jewelry.
After earning her bachelor of science degree from Phillips University, Osborn received her master’s degree in education from Central State University. She went on to complete her doctorate from Oklahoma State University.
In 2008, Osborn was named to the Faculty Advisory Council of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. This is her second appointment to the council and the third time USAO has been represented.
In 2006, Osborn was honored by the Oklahoma Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (OAHPERD) for her achievements in physical education. Honorees must serve more than a decade in the field in Oklahoma and be active on state and national levels in teaching and research. Osborn has been a working member of OAHPERD for nearly 35 years.She has authored one book and edited another.
Osborn actually has served at USAO four times: she taught courses here in 1973, 1977 and 1980, before joining the faculty full-time in 1992.
Leah Oxenford has been a member of the faculty at USAO since 2007. She is the lab coordinator and teaches Principles of Ecology Lab, Principles of Ecology, Foundations of Science Laboratory and Colloquium in the Sciences.
Oxenford’s publications and presentations include Swellable molecularly imprinted Poly-N-(N-prophy) acrylamide particles for the detection of emerging organic contaminants using surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy, Stationary phase solvation and selectivity in reverse phase liquid chromatography with short and medium chain alcohols, and Characterization of the pH properties of N-isopropyl acrylamide copolymers for sensor applications.
She is a member of the V-Day College Campaign.
Before coming to USAO, Oxenford was a teaching/research assistant at Oklahoma State University, an assistant application chemist at the Hach Company and worked in the chemistry stockroom at the University of Northern Colorado.
PhD, University of Oklahoma, 1994, Instruction, Leadership, & Curriculum--Student Perceptions in the Mathematics Classroom: A Study of How African American, Hispanic, Native American, and White Fifth and Sixth Graders Perceive Mathematics and the Mathematics Classroom.
M.ED, University of Oklahoma, 1988, (Educational Technology--Microcomputer Emphasis Option)
B.S. University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma, Elementary Certification, Elementary Education
B.S., Texas A & M University, 1974, Curriculum and Instruction--Math/History, Secondary Certification
A.A., San Diego City College, A.A., 1970, (Social Science)
A faculty leader in multicultural education and service learning, Dr. Jeanne Mather has been a member of the USAO faculty in Education since 1990.
Dr. Mather is certified to teach Elementary (1-8); Language Arts (6-8); and Business Math, Algebra, Analysis, Calculus, Computer Science/Applications, General Mathematics, Geometry, Linear Algebra, Trigonometry, American History, Democracy, Oklahoma History, Sociology/Anthropology, U.S. Government, World History (6-12).
One of her passions is helping others. One way she does this is through the “Books for Tots” Program which she co-founded and which has distributed over 50,000 new books to needy children since its inception in 1998. Another of her passions is multicultural education, strongly influenced by her own Hispanic background.
She loves to teach Spanish to fifth graders, which she does once a week (Hola, mis amigos); publishes a multicultural interdisciplinary newsletter, Classroom Spice, and collaborates in a number of other minority outreach activities. She is a strong advocate for interdisciplinary teaching, and encourages the use of children's literature to teach everything from math and science to social studies.
She is the counselor for Pi Omega Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society in Education, as well as the advisor for the campus chapter (SNEA) of the National Education Association Student Program. She is an active member of many organizations including National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), and International Reading Association (IRA).
Dr. Linda McElroy has been a member of the USAO faculty since 1995. She is an associate professor of education and teaches Reading I: Foundations of Literacy, Reading II: Strategies and Materials for Literacy Instruction, Reading III: Assessment and instruction of Literacy, Senior Seminar and College Reading and Study Skills.
McElroy’s publications include: Instant Messaging, Literacies, and Social Identities; Sense and Sendability: Children’s Problem-Solving Strategies for Construction Meaning from Pen Pal Letters and At-Risk Readers: Part I—Identifying The Cycle.
During her time at USAO, McElroy has been a member of the Admission to Teacher Education Committee, recording secretary for the Division of Education and Speech Pathology, a member of the Board of Directors and lifetime member of the Alumni Association, as well as serving on many other committees including the Faculty Search, Financial Aid Appeals, Tenure and Promotion, Superior Faculty Awards, University Curriculum, Faculty-Student Grievance, Assessment and Accountability and Physical Resources. In addition, she is the faculty advisor for the USAO Baptist Collegiate Ministries, faculty coordinator for the America Reads Program and recipient of the USAO Gladys Anderson Emerson Faculty Research Stipend. She received the USAO Regents Superior Teaching Award in 2009.
She also is a member of the International Reading Association, National Reading Conference, Oklahoma Higher Education Reading Council, Oklahoma State Department of Education Reading Consortium, Oklahoma Reading Association, Grady County Reading Association and Oklahoma Association of Teacher Educators.
Before coming to USAO, McElroy was an instructor and graduate assistant at the University of Oklahoma, reading specialist at Lexington Public Schools, teacher at Wanette Elementary School, teaching assistant at Purcell Elementary School and director and teacher for the Mother’s Day Out weekday early education program at the First Baptist Church in Purcell.
Before coming to USAO in 2008, Dr. Gower was the director of federal programs of the Unified School District No. 480 in Liberal, Kans. At the same time, she was an instructor at Kansas Newman University in Wichita and at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kans.
At Kansas Newman and Fort Hays, Gower taught courses for off-campus credit, worked collaboratively with Fort Hays administrators in implementing summer courses to improve science instruction for middle and high school teachers supported with grant funding and administered endorsement classes.
While with the United School District No. 480, Gower administrated various state and federal programs that included Title I, the largest federal aid program that deals with migratory or at risk children; Title III, which is designed for agencies to develop high quality English as a second language programs and the Carl Perkins Grant, which promotes the preparation for nontraditional training and employment. She also served as the director of preschool, assistant principal at Liberal High School and other positions within the district.
In addition to her teaching duties, Gower serves as the director of the Child Development Center at USAO. The center is open from 9-11:45 a.m. Monday through Friday during the fall and spring trimesters. The center focuses on the achievement of the following goals: enhancement of self-concept, language development, sensory acuity, motor development, concept formation and living skills.