MARLOW — After half a century serving as the voice of the Marlow Outlaws, it’s only fitting that the last game Ernest Muncrief saw from the press box was one against Madill.
The retired vocational agriculture teacher is a Kingston native, and his hometown’s football rival was none other than the Wildcats.
“I went out and told them they wouldn’t get any breaks from me, but I’d be fair about it,” Muncrief said.
The 84-year-old Muncrief has become an icon in Marlow football. Even he’s not sure exactly when he started announcing the games, but most people put it around the 50-year mark.
In his pocket, he carries a money clip presented to him at a reunion of the Outlaws’ two state champion teams from 1959 and 1964, and he adds to that a letter jacket presented to him before Friday’s kickoff.
“Everything has to change,” Muncrief said. “Change is inevitable. I think I did my part.”
Known for his ability to estimate long-yardage situations — “second down and forever” and “third down and halfway to Rush Springs” are common Muncrief-isms — Muncrief’s sharp tongue is not limited to what happens on the field.
When a standing-room only crowd filled Outlaw Stadium for the season opener against Tuttle, Muncrief took glee in pointing out that Marlow’s own Jim Richardson was the owner of one of the vehicles parked in a tow-away zone, admonishing him with a “Shame on you, Jim.”
And when it comes to college football, Muncrief always offers his insight on the next day’s match ups featuring the state’s two largest universities. For his beloved Oklahoma State, or “the great state university,” a win is always in the cards. For “the other university,” a loss is always expected.
Former Marlow superintendent and current state Rep. Ray McCarter said Muncrief’s service to Marlow goes beyond six weeks of calling football games.
“Mr. Muncrief is the voice of this entire school,” McCarter said. “He’s continued to serve this school and he does anything for the school.”
Muncrief still serves as the school’s mail carrier, and a contract on file in the superintendent’s office provides him one cup of coffee for every bag of mail delivered from the city’s post office. That continued dedication to the school is one of the reasons Muncrief is so well loved in Marlow and the reason his voice will be missed on Friday nights.
“I was just glad I was here to be part of it,” said Tommy Cosgrove, who is now the principal at Marlow High and has taught in the school system for 37 years. “He’s been a role model for all of us.”
Muncrief will have his Friday nights free starting in 2007, when Joe Ligon takes over the microphone at Outlaw Stadium, but even Muncrief admits he won’t be far from the action.
“I’ll probably sit out there in the stands when it’s pretty,” Muncrief said. “And I’ll listen to it on the radio when it’s cold. I just can’t stand that cold.”