About Western


WOSC Names Former OU All-American as its New Cross Country Coach

May 9, 2022 -- maegan.martin
WOSC Names Former OU All-American as its New Cross Country Coach

ALTUS, Okla. – Western Oklahoma State College (WOSC) is excited to announce the hiring of Coach Rick Carpenter as the new Head Coach of the men and women’s Cross Country coach, a new program that will begin in fall 2022.

Athletic Director, Matt Cartwright announced that Rick Carpenter, a two-time all-American in the indoor mile and the 1975 cross country captain and 1976 track captain at the University of Oklahoma, has agreed to accept the head coach position. “We are excited to bring a new program to Western Oklahoma State College.  Cross Country will give another opportunity for student-athletes to compete at a high level and gain a high-level education at the same time. Western is excited for the future of this program and for the student-athletes that are building an excellent running program in southwest Oklahoma. We couldn't be more excited to have Rick on board leading the program in that direction,” said Cartwright.

Carpenter, 67, who is retired and living in Colorado, recently served as the editor and publisher of The Altus Times and the Frederick Press-Leader. He served as an assistant cross country and assistant swimming coach in Moore, Oklahoma while teaching English at Highland East Middle School in 1979. While Highland East, he was also training for the 1980 Olympics. At that time, amateur athletes could not accept money for coaching a sport in which he or she competed. Cross country running is not an Olympic event.

When his journalism career took off, Carpenter abandoned his formal coaching to focus on his journalism profession. However, he continued to make time to continue to advise a number of high school and college runners. He said he's been a student of different training methods and has tried most of them before settling on his current approach.

While competing, Carpenter set individual school records at OU in the indoor mile and the 3,000-meter steeplechase while also joining teammates to set school records in the indoor distance medley and the outdoor 4-mile relay. His best time in the mile was 4:05 his junior year at OU before an injury kept him from being competitive his senior year.

Carpenter wants to build a program with local athletes. He said southwest Oklahoma has talented runners who he hopes to recruit and develop into nationally-ranked competitors. He attended Altus High School’s Bob Hart Invitational and said he saw runners with as much or more talent than he had and could develop into top runners.

In 1972, Carpenter was the only Oklahoma high school runner to qualify for the National Junior Olympics. Twelve athletes from across the country qualified in each event. He finished fifth in the mile in 4:18.3. He also finished second in state in the 2-mile run in 9:35 that year, competing for US Grant High School in Oklahoma City.

Carpenter attended Butler County Community College in Kansas his freshman year where he won the regional cross country meet and finished fourth in the 2-mile in 9:15 and fifth in the mile in 4:16 at the NJCAA National Indoor Championships in 1973. He transferred to OU his sophomore year.

“I understand the value of a junior college education,” he said. “They enrolled me in remedial English and reading classes, and a journalism professor took me under his wings and convinced me I could become a writer, although my first love was photography,” said Carpenter. He also said becoming an avid reader transformed his life and helped him become an award-winning journalist.

Carpenter had a summer internship as a photographer with Sports Illustrated and Time magazines in 1975 where he traveled with legendary photographer Rich Clarkson for whom ESPN has produced a documentary. He later was a personal writer in Washington, D.C. for US Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming, then went on to own newspapers in Colorado and Oklahoma.

Most recently, Carpenter and OU classmate Larry Miller were equal partners in Graystone Media Group, LTD, which owned newspapers in Durant, Frederick, Altus and Mangum. They sold the company last year.

Carpenter encourages local athletes to contact him about competing for WOSC. He said building a solid base during summer months produces the kind of competitors he hopes to develop. For more information about the program email coach at crosscountry@wosc.edu.


Western Oklahoma State College is the oldest original municipal two-year college still in existence in the State of Oklahoma. Its mission is to provide high-quality education, support student success, and empower individuals to become productive members of local, regional and global communities. Western offers high-quality associate degrees and certificates to students in its five-county service area and beyond. For more information, visit wosc.edu.

Back to pioneerNEWS

Recent News

Randall named 2024 Teacher of the Year

May 20, 2024

Western Oklahoma State College is proud to announce that Rachel Randall, a distinguished biology instructor, has been named the 2024 Teacher of the Year. This prestigious award, determined through nominations by the entire student body and a subsequent selection by the Student Senate, recognizes exceptional dedication and excellence in teaching. 

Rachel Randall has consistently demonstrated a profound commitment to her students, both academically and personally. The nominations submitted by students highlight her extraordinary impact on their educational experiences and personal growth. Here are some of the heartfelt comments from students who nominated her: 

"To me, this teacher has been one of the most caring teachers I know on campus, and I think is the most deserving of this award. Not only because they are an amazing teacher but also because they are the most caring human being. Anytime I need help with something they are always there to help me even if they don't know anything about it, they will learn about it just for me. They are always willing to go above and beyond for every single one of their students and I am completely grateful for that!" 

"I have had the privilege of having this teacher for two different classes. They are knowledgeable and caring. They go above and beyond for their students even when they don't have to. There have been countless times when I have gone to this teacher for help in other classes and if they don't know they takes the time to sit with you and look it up, they make sure you leave their office understanding what you didn't understand when you got into their office with the question. They truly care about their students, and them gaining the knowledge they need to succeed." 

Randall's dedication to her students is evident in every interaction, whether in the classroom or during one-on-one consultations. Her willingness to go the extra mile to ensure her students succeed is what makes her a truly remarkable educator and a deserving recipient of this year's Teacher of the Year award.


What is Western Oklahoma State College?

  • About

    Western Oklahoma State College, established as Altus Junior College in 1926, is the oldest original municipal two-year college still in existence in Oklahoma...
    [About WOSC]
  • Vision

    Western Oklahoma State College aspires to be the outstanding and innovative community college known for its focus on student success and its service to community and regional development.
  • Mission

    The mission of Western Oklahoma State College is to provide high quality education while ensuring equity, supporting student success, and empowering individuals to become productive members of diverse local, regional, and global communities.