Durant could be on the verge of becoming one of the state’s great color-coded college sports towns.
Close to 100 people bearing “True Blue: Durant CommUNITY” shirts launched blue balloons at Paul Laird Field on Thursday before the Savage Storm football scrimmage.
The effort follows the tradition of other Oklahoma small cities where colors like orange and maroon dominate the landscape on the days leading up to fall college football games.
There are too many universities in Tulsa and OKC for any single one to dominate, and most other Division 1 universities in the state are located in communities smaller than Durant.
This situates Durant in a prime position to establish itself among the top towns in the state in terms of local collegiate support.
“We believe this is the beginning of a new era of pride in Durant,” said Mayor Jerry Tomlinson, from the wording of a proclamation. He proclaimed Thursdays and Fridays “True Blue Durant Community Days,” urging supporters to wear blue, paint windows, put up banners and otherwise show support for Southeastern, Durant High School, and the community overall.
Chamber of Commerce President Darrell Mendez called the university “the crown jewel of southeast Oklahoma.”
“The impact of this university is unbelievable,” he said. “It really is a great thing for Durant.”
Joe Hill, a Durant native and Southeastern alumnus who works for Congressman Dan Boren, led the event in front of the football stadium.
“It’s more than just wearing a blue shirt on Fridays or Saturdays,” he said. “It’s a sense of community and civic pride. It’s a special thing we have here.”