The Minor twins never were much trouble for their parents. Their mom told me 18 years ago that if she knew Damon and Ryan would be that easy to raise, she’d have had five more sets. But Dale and Nancy Minor had just the one pair and they hit a home run with Damon and Ryan. And not just because both played Major League Baseball and work for big league organizations today. “You couldn’t ask for two better kids,: said Richard Megli, who coached the Minor twins in the charming hamlet of Hammon. “As good as they were, they had the opportunity to be arrogant. They were the opposite. Nice as they could be. Worked hard. Helped younger kids.”
Here’s how the Minor twins got that way. Dale Minor, who grew up fatherless in Ohio, provided his boys with one of the world’s greatest gifts. Good home training.
“He pretty much kept them in line,” Megli said. “If they got out of line, or tried to, he was right in the middle of ’em,telling ’em, that ain’t the way it is.”
Dale Minor died Tuesday, September 4, 2013, at the age of 68, a lifelong schoolteacher who never made much money but left this earth a rich man. Sons who are humble and hardworking, successful and gracious, are more precious than gold. “You don’t realize it until you have kids of your own,” Damon Minor said of having a father like Dale. “But you learn respect. My dad was very good at discipline. It was a tough love.”
Sounds rougher than it actually was. Tough love doesn’t have to be harsh. Tough love can be setting rules and sticking to them. And the Minors always were a close-knit family, built around ballgames and each other. Damon and Ryan were baseball and basketball stars at Hammon, then went to OU, where both played on the 1994 NCAA championship baseball team and Ryan was a basketball star.
Dale Minor grew up hardscrabble in Ohio, found his way to Southwestern State on a football scholarship and became a star linebacker in Weatherford. He went back to Ohio, met Nancy, they got married, had the twins and Dale started working as a meatpacker. But he stabbed himself one too many times and told Nancy he had to get back to Southwestern and get his degree. She thought they would be in Oklahoma six months. They were approaching 40 years when Dale died. Dale got that degree and started coaching, in Wakita and Gotebo and then Pampa, Texas, where the boys attended fifth grade and Dale got to coach some football. But the small – town bug had bitten them. Pampa, then population 22,000 was a little too large. So Dale interviewed for a job in Hammon as shop teacher and assistant baseball and basketball coach. Megli, also Southwestern grad, had heard of Dale Minor. “I had heard the stories about the legend he was,” Megli said. “Didn’t know how to take him at first.” “He was a linebacker there, aggressive , a headhunter. Just one of those guys, when he went, he went all out. Pretty much the way he did everything. On and off the field and probably a little ornery.”
But Megli soon learned that Dale Minor was “good to the bone; anything he did was for the good of the kids. Of course, his two kids were kind of a bonus.”
A year after the boys went to OU, Dale and Nancy moved to Edmond, to be closer to Norman. Dale coached soccer at Edmond North for awhile and taught until 2009, five years after he was diagnosed with the cancer that eventually killed him. The old ornery linebacker was 150 pound when he died. He fought the cancer for nine years, through four or five different chemos and a couple of radiations. Nancy talked to the boys about the funeral service, they all agreed. Hammon was their home. So at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Hammon High Auditorium, Dale Minor’s life will be celebrated.
Daily Oklahoman, written by Sports Writer Berry Trammel September 5, 2013