As part of its 2011 homecoming celebration Nov. 5, St. Gregory’s University will host a special ceremony recognizing Don Sumner. The court inside W.P. Wood Field House will be dedicated in honor of Sumner. The event, open to the public, is scheduled for 2 p.m. University officials plan to unveil Sumner’s signature on the playing surface, which will be named “Don Sumner Court.”


As part of its 2011 homecoming celebration Nov. 5, St. Gregory’s University will host a special ceremony recognizing Don Sumner. The court inside W.P. Wood Field House will be dedicated in honor of Sumner. The event, open to the public, is scheduled for 2 p.m. University officials plan to unveil Sumner’s signature on the playing surface, which will be named “Don Sumner Court.”

“St. Gregory’s can be successful only insofar as the members of the community are dedicated to the values that make it unique,” said the Rt. Rev. Lawrence Stasyszen, O.S.B., chancellor of the university. “Certainly we are grateful for how coach Sumner has contributed to the success of St. Gregory’s and countless young people through his incredible career as a coach and athletic director.

“Beyond that, however, coach Sumner has dedicated most of his life to our mission in his work as a teacher, his tireless efforts to raise awareness of and funds for St. Gregory’s, and his availability to generations of alumni.”

Sumner has served St. Gregory’s for more than 40 years in various capacities. He was an instructor and coach at St. Gregory’s for 35 years before retiring in 1997, and returned to the university in 2006 as its athletic director. Sumner took over a basketball program that was only three years old in 1961, serving as head men’s basketball coach and interim women’s basketball coach. In that span, he compiled 621 wins, led the women’s basketball team to its first winning season, was named the Bi-State Conference Coach of the Year five times and earned the Region II NJCAA Coach of the Year Award. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Baptist University Sports Hall of Fame in in 1967, the St. Gregory’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2009.

Sumner also was an instructor of natural sciences during his time at St. Gregory’s, teaching biology, zoology and nutrition. He was named St. Gregory’s College Teacher of the Year in 1977. In 1997, he served as alumni director and men’s golf coach. He served as athletic director from 1970 to 1996. Sumner has received two Benedictine Service Medals for his contributions to St. Gregory’s.

A Shawnee resident for more than 70 years, Don received his bachelor’s degree in science from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1958 and earned a master’s degree in natural science from the University of Oklahoma in 1966. He and his wife, Jenetta, have been married for 52 years.

Also being honored at the Saturday event will be St. Gregory’s Sports Hall of Fame inductee Robert Allison and Distinguished Alumnus Aemil Ast.

Allison graduated from St. Gregory’s in 1995 with an associate’s degree. He later earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Oklahoma. An all-state basketball player from El Reno, Allison finished as the second all-time leading scorer for the Cavaliers. While at St. Gregory’s, he earned all-conference, all-region and honorable mention All-America recognition. He led the team in scoring with 18 points per game his freshman year and 28 points per game his second season, placing him fourth among NJCAA players.

Allison continued his career at OU under coach Kelvin Sampson. A two-year letter winner for the Sooners, he started in more than half of the games in which he played. Robert was part of three consecutive NCAA Tournament teams, and as a senior, played on the Big 12 South co-championship team and Big 12 Tournament runner-up teams.

Ast is a 1949 graduate of St. Gregory’s High School, the forerunner to what is now St. Gregory’s University. He has organized the Kansas Alumni Reunion for nearly 30 years. Funds raised at the event are used to provide a scholarship for a St. Gregory’s student who is a Kansas resident. Ast was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award as the most recent reunion earlier this month.

St. Gregory’s homecoming celebration begins Friday, Nov. 4, with events slated through the afternoon on Sunday, Nov. 6. Festivities kick off at 6 p.m. Friday with a meet-and-greet reception at SGU’s Rockwood Center. On Saturday, events include a student bed race, “Alumni Walk-About,” and student/alumni game-show event before the men’s and women’s basketball games.

Homecoming coronation will occur at approximately 3:45 p.m. Saturday during halftime of the men’s basketball game against Southwestern Assemblies of God University. SGU is still accepting registration for homecoming activities. For more information, contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at 405-878-5421.