More than a day job: Tom Angleton
By day: Controller for Explorer Pipeline • By night: Basketball scorekeeper
Tom Angleton, shown on the basketball court at The University of Tulsa Donald W. Reynolds Center, has been the official scorekeeper for the TU men’s basketball team for more than 20 years and the women’s team’s scorekeeper since 1996.
Tom Angleton keeps books.
By day, he keeps books as controller for Explorer Pipeline. By night for much of the year, he keeps books for basketball teams.
Angleton is the official scorekeeper for The University of Tulsa’s men’s and women’s basketball teams. He also keeps score for the Tulsa Shock women’s professional team and, when needed, Oral Roberts University. He has kept score for the Tulsa 66ers but is now filling in on the shot clock.
Additionally, he’s been the official scorekeeper for major tournaments, such as the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Championship when it was held in Tulsa.
The highlight of his scorekeeping career, he says, “was getting to work the NCAA regional that was held at the BOK (Center) in March (2011).”
Angleton didn’t plan to become a scorekeeper. He played college basketball at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah and moved to Tulsa to join Explorer after graduating in 1971. His interest in scorekeeping up to that point had been to check the box score for his statistics when he played.
But around 1987, Explorer hired Bill Roach, who had worked in sports information at TU and helped keep statistics for the university’s games.
“I said if he ever needed any help to let me know,” Angleton says. “The next year I started working at the scorer’s table.”
He was sort of a utility backup, filling in where needed, helping run the scoreboard or shot clock or keeping statistics. He did that for about four years, until the shot clock operator retired, and then Angleton took that over.
“I did that two years,” he says. “Then the scorekeeper retired, and I’ve been doing that ever since.”
At first he worked just the men’s games. He added the women’s games when TU resumed that sport in 1996.
In 2008, he received a call from a Tulsa 66ers representative and began keeping score for that team.
Adding the Tulsa Shock when that team came to town in 2010 was natural.
Angleton’s work typically lasts from November until March, usually about two nights a week or 50 to 60 games a year. He figures that he’s worked at least 800 games.
In all that time, he says, he’s had just one bad experience. And that was with a basketball legend, Leon Barmore, head coach of Louisiana Tech University, sometimes called “the John Wooden of women’s basketball” because of his prowess in winning national championships.
Angleton recalls: Two players went for a ball, and it appeared to be a tie-up situation, but an official called a foul on a Louisiana Tech player. It was not a free-throw shooting situation, so TU got the ball out of bounds. The possession arrow, which had been in TU’s favor, didn’t change because of the foul.
When the next jump-ball situation came up, Angleton indicated that the possession went to TU.
The Louisiana Tech coaches “got very upset, claiming that Tulsa got the ball on the play before, not realizing a foul had been called,” Angleton says.
That one experience, he says, “was a pretty big one. … Barmore got so upset, he actually passed out and they called an ambulance.”
“Scorekeepers don’t like to be involved in that,” he says.
Angleton had no formal training.
“It was kind of a natural fit with my knowledge from playing and being a fan and with my job of working with numbers,” he says.
And what does his wife, Linda, think about his nighttime work?
“I think she likes it,” he says, “because she can get the remote when I’m gone.”
Scorekeeping is not Angleton’s only outside interest. He got involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters in 1995, began mentoring and in 2003 was named Oklahoma Big Brother of the Year. He still serves on the board of that statewide organization.