Josh Heupel’s impact at the University of Oklahoma has been significant and the former Sooner quarterback continues to play a big role in the success of the OU Football Team on the field and continues to make an impact with people off the field.
Heupel’s accomplishments on the field are well known, including leading the Sooners to their seventh National Championship back in 2000. The left handed signal caller led the unranked Sooners at the beginning of the year to an undefeated season, and led his squad to an upset of heavily favored Florida State to win the 2000 Orange Bowl and 2000 National Title.
That has led to a promising coaching career and Heupel currently is the Co-Offensive Coordinator, quarterback coach and play caller for the Sooners and not only is Heupel still contributing to the success of the Sooners on the field, but he continues to do what he can to help disadvantage children and families all over the state of Oklahoma.
Saturday before the Sooners 2:30 PM kickoff against Baylor at the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium Coach Heupel’s 14-Foundantion will hold its 12th annual Holiday Food Drive as volunteers for the 14-Foundation will be stationed all around the stadium accepting cash donations for the drive that annually feeds over 30,000 disadvantage families a year.
“When we first started it was an actual food drive where people would bring food and can goods to the drive, but people also started to bring us cash donations and early that wasn’t the easiest way for us to go,” said Coach Heupel. “However, now it has turned into a total cash donation process and then we go and buy as many meals as we can and serve as many families as we can.
“I think last year we served around 30,000 meals through the project last year. It has been a lot of fun, and because of that first year this has also parlayed into a Christmas event. The next thing you now I started a foundation. It has been a lot of fun and we have helped people throughout the entire state. Now we do the Thanksgiving Drive, the Christmas Drive, we do gifts for kids and we give a gift to about 600-kids that without our donation would not get a gift for Christmas.
“Then we also have camps during the summer. They are athletic based but at the end of the day we are trying to give kids the skill set to be successful in life. So you are talking about discipline, respect, trust and hard work. Most of the camps include an academic day where we are inspiring kids in the math and science area, and it has been a lot of fun.”
Heupel admits the 14-Foundation has come a long way and survived despite the fact he hasn’t always been at OU through the past 12-years.
“The first year I was playing here and I did the Christmas deal on the back end,” said Coach Heupel. “That was really just me and a girl friend shopping for ten to 15-kids in the middle of the night, but when I got hired as a coach at Arizona the Thanksgiving Drive continued and the Christmas Drive got bigger, and when I was hear as a GA is when the camp portion of it started and my dad really heads all that up right now.
“So, it has been a lot of fun and a lot of great people donate a lot of time and energy into it and we have developed a lot of great partnerships out of it.”
The food drives and Christmas drives are Coach Heupel’s way of giving back to people that have meant so much to him.
“I think it anything that you do for a long time you reach a point that you get tired and you sometimes start thinking or wonder if it is worth it,” said Coach Heupel. “Then you start to hear the great stories and you hear about how many people you helped, or you find out how happy you made a child at Christmas, and how you made the parents who were able see their kids get a gift, that they would not have been able to get, and smile at Christmas.
“At the end of the day it is all about giving back. I have been welcomed here, had a lot of support from a lot of people, and this is just an opportunity for me to give back, and really it is the people of Oklahoma giving back to the people of Oklahoma. It has been a lot of fun reaching out to different communities and impacting young people throughout the entire state. Ultimately we are trying to impact our state in a positive way one kid at a time.”
It is anticipated that 30,000 meals will be served in at least 10 different Oklahoma communities this year. Students and families from over 50 different elementary schools in Oklahoma will be impacted this Thanksgiving by the donations given. So before the game make sure you find a 14-Foundation worker, and they won’t be hard to find as they will be all around the stadium, and make a cash donation (yes checks are accepted) and be a part of the 14-Foundations Thanksgiving food drive.
For those not attending the game who would like to contribute, donations can be sent to:
P.O. Box 721686
Norman OK, 73070
Partners include the University of Oklahoma football program, as well as the Regional Food Bank and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
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