Where Are They Now? - Q&A's With Notable Jenks Grads
Scott Higgins - Senior Associate Athletic Director at Oral Roberts University
Scott Higgins took advantage of an opportunity provided to him at Jenks High School and turned his interest in sports into a life-long career. A 1983 JHS grad, Higgins took his talents to the TV screen as a local sportscaster and today, he is the Senior Associate Athletic Director at Oral Roberts University. Click below to read more about Higgins’ memorable moments from his time at KOTV Channel 6 and how he keeps sponsors and spectators happy at a variety of ORU athletic events.
What are your fondest memories of attending Jenks High School?
Higgins: There were so many opportunities to get involved in activities that matched your interests. I was able to report for the campus TV station, which was unheard of in the early 80’s. I had so much fun at Hi Jenks that I decided to make television reporting my career. I also appreciated how there was a sense of community. Everyone from kindergarteners to high school students were on one campus. You couldn’t help but know everyone.
Was there one particular teacher or principal who inspired you or made a lasting impact in your life?
Higgins: Mrs. Whitmire, my speech teacher, always encouraged me to take risks and reach past my goals. I was afraid of public speaking but she inspired me to feel confident. Eventually, thanks to her, I overcame this fear and it led to a successful career in front of the camera.
Did your interest in media and communications begin during your time at Jenks High School? If so, what kind of programs or activities helped pave the way for your career?
Higgins: Before high school, I had no interest in media. However, I was interested in sports. By working on the newspaper and yearbooks staffs, I became interested in sports journalism. When the JHS student TV program launched, I became interested in electronic media because it gave me a platform to better display my personality.
As a Radio/TV/Film major at OSU, did you always imagine yourself in front of the camera as a reporter/anchor, or did you see yourself in a different role?
Higgins: Once I entered college, I already knew that I wanted to work in front of the camera. It had nothing to do with ego, though. I wanted to write and talk about sports. I felt like working behind the camera would not give me the platform I needed. Plus, I’ve never been very good at operating equipment!
What was most memorable about your time at Channel 6?
Higgins: It was obviously great to return to Tulsa where my wife and I have lots of family. However, I always wanted to cover OSU football and working at Channel 6 allowed me to do that. Covering the 1997 Alamo Bowl is a fond memory because OSU struggled for so many years before that. Interestingly, I became an OU fan as well while working at Channel 6 because of how well the Sooner coaches and players treated the media.
Who are some of your heroes or role models in the field of sports broadcasting?
Higgins: I may be dating myself but I grew up idolizing Howard Cosell because he was never afraid to speak his mind. I never wanted to be a sportscaster just so I could be on TV. I truly enjoyed the story telling and the freedom to tell it like it is. Howard Cosell epitomized that style.
Why did you decide to transition from local TV to media relations and administration?
Higgins: Sportscasting is a young man or woman’s career. Although as a sports fan it was fun to cover big events, the hours were often challenging. In Las Vegas, after anchoring the 11 pm sportscast, I would not get home until midnight. As it turned out, I missed lots of family time. The work was rewarding but not at the expense of spending time with my wife and seeing my boys grow up. Athletic administration offers a more normal schedule. I am still involved with sports but I have more balance in my schedule.
How would you describe your primary role and responsibilities at ORU?
Higgins: As the Senior Associate Athletic Director, I am responsible for all sponsorship sales, which means selling arena billboards, radio spots, and other marketing inventory. I also oversee the media relations and ticket sales staffs. We have a great media relations team but sometimes my experience as a member of the media proves to be beneficial.
What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your job?
Higgins: It is easy to sell sponsorships and tickets when our teams are winning. However, when they have rough seasons, as all teams do, the job becomes more difficult. Fans are fickle. My job requires me to keep sponsors and fans happy, win or lose.
Sports fans in Tulsa have many choices when it comes to schools, teams, and how they spend their dollars. How do you help ORU stand out in order to ensure the health and success of the athletic programs?
Higgins: ORU athletic events are unique to Tulsa in that the Golden Eagles don’t just play to win games. Our student athletes play for the glory of God. Our fan base is diverse but we especially attract sports fans who want to see athletes playing for a higher purpose. We attract families with a safe, convenient, inexpensive, and entertaining experience. This year, we are offering free season or single game tickets for all children 13 and under, a concept you won’t find anywhere else.
What does the future look like for ORU athletics? What sort of initiatives, facility upgrades, or changes do you foresee?
Higgins: ORU Athletics will continue its upward trend both on and off the field. This year, we are building a track and new tennis facility. It’s amazing how many NCAA track champions we’ve produced without having a campus track. We have also improved our basketball and baseball facilities because in this day and age, you must have excellent facilities to attract top recruits. On the field, we are building new rivalries in the Summit League and competing for championships. Off the field, our student athletes, thanks in part to our Whole Person Champions program, achieved the highest program GPA ever – over a 3.1.
What is next for you both personally and professionally?
Higgins: Personally, my wife and I are enjoying our new empty nest lifestyle and want to retire in Tulsa. That’s still several years away but we know Tulsa is the place we want to be. We’re looking forward to downsizing our home and traveling more. Professionally, ORU Athletics has treated me very well. I love my involvement with our teams and getting to do some Golden Eagle TV and radio play by play work on the side. I miss parts of my sportscasting career but realize this is where God wants me to be.