Drover Baseball to Celebrate LJ Powell as part of Legends Day March 11

A photo of legendary Drover baseball coach LJ Powell with his years, 11/7/1930 to 10/13/2020
LJ Powell's family threw out the first pitch in his honor for USAO's Legends Day dedication in 2023

On Saturday, March 11, the No. 19 ranked USAO baseball team will be celebrating the impactful career of LJ Powell, as part of Legends Day. On the field of play, the Drovers will be battling Mid-America Christian University. First pitch of the double-header is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at Bill Smith Ballpark.

"In the many years that I knew him, Coach Powell proved himself time and again to be someone completely dedicated to shaping young minds for the better," said President John Feaver. "Though I count him among my finest friends, he was much more than that. He was the type of trusted advisor that I could always turn to for much-needed input, and his exceptional perspective never failed to broaden my understanding."

Powell was the Drovers head baseball coach for 12 years (1997-2009) and compiled a staggering 266 wins at the helm, which stood as the program-record for eight years.

In his final season as head coach, Powell led the Drovers to, what was at that time, was the program's best season, going 37-14; produced USAO's first-ever First-Team All-SAC selection; and the team set 23 program records. Powell led the Drovers to a Red River Athletic Conference Division Title and a NAIA Regional title game appearance.

Even in the years following his departure as head coach, Powell continued his work to build a first-class baseball program at USAO . He was a constant presence at Bill Smith Ballpark, providing advice and motivation to the next generation of Drovers. Further, Powell was integral in the fundraising efforts for the LJ Powell Baseball Training Center. Completed in spring 2020, the center was a project that he worked toward for more than 20 years.

Outside of USAO , Powell saw tremendous success as well, earning inductions in to the USAO Athletics Hall of Fame, as well as the Oklahoma Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Prior to USAO , he coached at Anadarko High School (1954-1956), Frederick High School (1957) and Chickasha High School (1958-1996). He also had strong ties to Major League Baseball, scouting for the San Diego Padres.

For Powell though, the success of his players was more than stats in a playbook.

"The important things to me were the success that these young men had after baseball and the young ladies after softball," Powell said upon his retirement in 2009. "It's the relationships that we've developed over the years and the success of these young people as they've gone on down the road of life."

Powell passed on October 13, 2020 at the age of 89, and lives on through his family and former players.

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