News Story

NSU Athletic Hall of Fame to Induct Class XXVII

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (Jan. 20, 2012) --- Northeastern State University will induct four individuals into its Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012. Scheduled to be enshrined as Class XXVII are: John Higginbotham, L.D. Lawson, Wiley Ryal and Paul Steininger.

Tickets for the NSU Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet, which begins at 11 a.m. in the University Center's Herb Rozell Ballroom, are $20 per person. Reservations are required and must be made before Monday, Feb. 13, by call 918-444-3901. Tickets also include admission to the NSU vs. Lindenwood basketball games later that afternoon.

Higginbotham graduated from Northeastern State in 1983 and was a three-year letterman for the Redmen football team. He was a two-time NAIA All-America selection and twice named All-Conference. Drafted by Tampa Bay in 1983, Higginbotham briefly played for the Denver Broncos in 1984. After a short career in coaching, he founded Higginbotham Construction and Exterminators in Hugo where he and his family now reside.

Lawson earned his degree from Northeastern State in 1967. He was a three-year letterman on the Redmen baseball team in 1964, 1965 and 1966. An All-Oklahoma Collegiate Conference choice in 1964, Lawson helped lead NSU to back-to-back OCC championships, two regional titles and two Area 2 finals appearances in 1964 and 1965. An all-state product from Sapulpa, the school district's baseball complex was renamed in his honor in April 2011.

Ryal received two degrees from Northeastern State; a bachelor's in 1964 and master's in 1970. He was a four-year letterman on the Redmen basketball team for legendary coach Dr. Jack Dobbins. A 1st Team All-Oklahoma Collegiate Conference honoree in 1963 and 1964, Ryal led the team in rebounding from 1962 through 1964 and co-captained the 1962 and 1964 squads. After graduation he began a highly-successful career as an educator and coach where he won 925 basketball and baseball games.

Steininger graduated from Northeastern State in 1976. He was a two-year letterman for the Redmen football team in 1973 and 1974 as an offensive lineman. A Sunkist All-American at Dodge City (Kan.) High School, Steininger was a 1st Team All-Conference selection both seasons at NSU and signed as a free agent with the National Football League's Cleveland Browns in 1975. Steininger has spent many years providing work opportunities for men living at the John 3:16 Mission and Salvation Army Day Center through his business, Exteriors Unlimited, Inc.

The Northeastern State University Athletic Hall of Fame was established in 1986 and is the highest honor bestowed upon former student-athletes and coaches.

Visit the Athletic's website at

Published: 1/20/2012 4:43:00 PM

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