Uniformed in their “Check out my O’Rear” T-shirts, they put flag belts around their waists, tie their shoes, do some stretches and say a little prayer before heading onto the intramural field.
The duo’s fellow teammates are already there, throwing the football around and going over plays. Bottom line, the rumors are true. Presidents and their wives really do play flag football.
University President Randy O’Rear and first lady Julie O’Rear carry the namesake of an intramural flag football team.
The team name, The O’Rears, was decided on by a group of sophomores. Evan Mullins, co-captain and sophomore math education major anticipated asking O’Rear to be a part of the team, but one day finally got the courage to ask.
“We were in Hardy during the first week of school, and as I went to leave, he came up behind me,” Mullins said. “So I asked him if he’d like to be on our team.”
After discussing the matter, O’Rear said yes, but only if he could be the quarterback.
“It wasn’t a hard fight to get him there,” Mullins said. “I said, ‘deal’.”
Last year, the freshman class came up with the idea to support Haiti relief. Mullins was a brain in the making and selling T-shirts. This was the start of a special bond.
“They were the freshman class when we became the president and first lady,” O’Rear said. “Their team name is the O’Rears so I thought, ‘we’ll play,’ and if we’re free to play, then we’re going to go.”
He is honored the students feel comfortable enough to interact and joke around with him and his wife.
“Those relationships are why Julie and I have dedicated our lives, so to speak, to this calling, and this work is to try and make an impact on our students’ lives,” O’Rear said. “It’s hard to do that if you never associate with them or engage in activities with them.”
Sophomore social work major Cameron Prenger is one of the few females on the team.
“It all started with the idea to just have Dr. O’Rear on your roster for fun .… So the next thing you know we were having practices with him and his wife,” Prenger said. “Both have proven their amazing skills.”
Prenger knows her teammates from being in previous campus activities together such as Stunt Night and playing on a softball intramurals team. This year, the group wanted to create a team filled with friends.
“Our games are a blast,” Prenger said. “We have so much fun during half time just goofing off, but the best part is being able to tell people that the O’Rears are on our team.”
The group is planning on having an end of the season party at the O’Rear home.
Mullins enjoys playing with O’Rear because of his good sportsmanship and dedication to the team.
“He’s played three out of four games with us,” Mullins said. “And he has such a good attitude about playing.”