How Dick Evans made mark for Midwest City football: 'You would run through a wall for him'

Jimmy Long still vividly remembers when former Midwest City High School football coach Dick Evans challenged him in front of his teammates.

Long, an All-State receiver at Midwest City and 1982 graduate, was playing in a scrimmage with the Bombers in Altus.

A vicious hit sent the future Oklahoma State baseball player to the ground, and he wasn’t feeling too good.

“I had gone over the middle and got my clock cleaned,” said Long, who is married to Kari Long, the older sister of Mike and Cale Gundy.

“In front of God and every fan there, he questioned my manhood and told me to get my butt up and go back to the huddle. So by gosh, you got up and you went back to the huddle. That’s all there was to it.”

Evans, who died at age 87 on Saturday, was known for that sort of thing during his 14 years as Midwest City’s head coach and throughout his time as an assistant under Jim Darnell.

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Evans was tough.

Old school.

He was also fair.

“If you screwed up, he gave you another chance and opportunities,” said Darryl Heintzelman, who graduated with Long and played at Southwestern College in Kansas and Tennessee Tech. “Very fair, very thorough.”

But above everything, Evans was genuine and truly cared about his players.

“He expected you to practice hard,” Long said. “He expected you to play hard. And he expected the most from you. He expected that because you were in black and gold and that’s just how it was and that’s what Bomber magic was all about.”

Evans knew all about Bomber magic.

He starred at the school during his high school days before playing college football under Bud Wilkinson at OU, where he was a member of two national championship teams in the 1950s.

After a coaching stint at U.S. Grant, Evans went back to Midwest City and ultimately became a legendary figure, leading the Bombers to state titles in 1985 and 1988.

“I have fond memories of Dick Evans, I always have had,” said Mark Morgan, a former offensive lineman at Midwest City who graduated in 1971 and played at Central State (now Central Oklahoma).

“He was always very friendly unless you were doing something you shouldn’t have been doing. Then he’d let you know in a hurry.”

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Sid Sanders was in the same graduating class as Morgan.

Sanders was a standout wrestler and is in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a referee. He played football for the Bombers, although he had contemplated quitting.

Evans was Sanders' defensive coordinator and also one of his teachers in school.

“I remember telling him, ‘I don’t think I’m gonna play football my junior year,’” Sanders said. “Every paper I got back then was marked, ‘F — reconsider your thoughts.’ I mean I got in his grade book and finally looked at it, found out I was making an A, but if you went by every paper I got back on the work I did for him I was flunking big time.”

Evans had lots of success as a head coach and led some talented teams.

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy quarterbacked Midwest City when the Bombers won a title in 1985, while former longtime OU assistant Cale Gundy was the signal caller on the 1988 championship squad.

"Coach Evans has left a long legacy of a real football coach and leader," Mike Gundy told The Oklahoman in a statement. "He has had a huge effect on thousands of young men’s lives and is one of my all-time favorites."

Mid-Del district athletic director Andy Collier grew up watching those teams.

He ended up becoming Midwest City’s starting quarterback and led the Bombers to a state title in 1995 when Dennis Huggins was the head coach. That was the last time a non-Tulsa area school won a football championship in the state’s largest classification.

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“The one thing I remember more than anything growing up, you hear the term, ‘Bomber magic,’” Collier said. “You’ve heard that forever. I remember so many games watching and basically people on the other sidelines thinking they have it wrapped up, and it wasn’t going to happen. Late in the fourth quarter, Midwest City would do something and come back and end up winning.

“Is that magic? No, that’s how he coached. So basically, he coached situational football. He coached kids every day to be ready for those late-game moments. But that hard work and preparation was what led to those late-game either comebacks or Bomber magic or whatever you want to call it.”

Kids like Collier couldn’t wait to become a Bomber.

The school had several stars, and Collier watched in awe on Friday nights.

“When I was growing up, he had the DeQuasies and the Gundys and he had AJ Hinch, Jeremy Woods,” Collier said. “You think of the quarterbacks that he had — they were all big-time brainiacs, big-time athletes, big-time playmakers. And most of them all really went off to do some spectacular things.”

There’s no doubt Evans left his mark at Midwest City.

In the end, he was a Bomber through and through.

“You didn’t question his methodology or his desire to win,” Long said. “Him being an ex-Bomber and growing up, all you ever wanted to do was wear that black and gold, so when you finally got there you would run through a wall for him.”

Nick Sardis covers high school sports for The Oklahoman. Have a story idea for Nick? He can be reached at or on Twitter at @nicksardis. Sign up for The Varsity Club newsletter to access more high school coverage. Support Nick's work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Legendary Midwest City football coach Dick Evans made his own mark