Various sports teams will use that term when touting the special culture they feel separates them from others and it’s usually overblown. But not for the Central Oklahoma wrestling program, where family means exactly that.
Since the program was reinstated in 1972 there have been more than 30 sets of brothers – including five one season in the mid-1990s — and eight father-son pairings compete for the Bronchos. Adding a wrestler from 1947 gives UCO one incredible bloodline of three generations, a grandfather-father-son.
And these family trees have attained high levels of success on the mat. Eight sets of brothers have been All-Americans, with three sets of those siblings winning national championships. Three families have had both father and son earn All-America recognition.
It’s an uncanny phenomenon, yet not surprising to those who are part of the Broncho family. Former UCO head coach David James – who led the Bronchos to 12 national championships during a legendary 34-year career from 1982-2016 – knows this all too well.
“We just have a strong history and tradition,” said James, who finished with a 396-144-5 dual record as head coach and is a member of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. “If you were a younger brother, this is where you needed to be. It was probably expected of the brothers because they were around it so much.”