Darryl “Rocky” Bright
The multi-talented OU standout is making his mark in the business world.
Former OU defensive end Darryl “Rocky” Bright is the industrial coordinator for Tulsa Technology Center.
As the saying goes, “when one door closes, another opens.” Such is the story of Tulsan Darryl “Rocky” Bright.
The former University of Oklahoma defensive end helped lead his team to a perfect 13-0 season in 2000, which culminated in a memorable Orange Bowl victory over Florida State and the National Championship.
Not surprisingly, Bright entertained aspirations of playing professional football, but injuries closed that door. Instead he devoted more time and resources to his education, business career and community service, which opened new doors for him as well as others. Today the former Tulsa Regional Chamber staff member is the industrial coordinator for Tulsa Technology Center.
The Salvation Army North Mabee Boys and Girls Club played a big role in your adolescent development. How? It is a haven for academic and athletic talent. At North Mabee there is a level of competitiveness and a sense of family that is second to none in our state. There is a rule that if you do not succeed in the classroom, you will not be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities. The high expectation of academic standards combined with the level of athletes and high-quality volunteer coaching staff are the foundation of the fundamentals in my life to which I still refer.
You were a key member of OU’s National Championship team in 2000. What are some of the memories you have from the success of that team? The OU football class of 1997 lost 19 games in our first three years. I remember being proud of our accomplishments — even more because we started at the bottom and ended as champions.
In 1999, we lost in the Independence Bowl on a last-second field goal. We were in the locker room and coach Jonathan Hayes told us to never forget how the loss made us feel because we did not want to experience that feeling for the rest of our careers. The next season we went undefeated, so we literally never felt the sting of defeat again.
You have several degrees from OU, and you maintained a 4.0 GPA in graduate school. Your resumé certainly defeats the stereotype of the average football player. From an early age I was taught that there will be life after sports. The North Mabee taught me to be a student-athlete, not an athlete-student. A student-athlete must take advantage of the academic resources provided by the university. I believe the average professional football career is about three years, so if your NFL dream comes to fruition, there must still be a plan to make a living for the years to come.
When you realized you would not play professional football, how did you deal with that disappointment? I was able to deal with the disappointment by continuing on the path toward academic success. Even though I wasn’t able to pursue a professional football career, I was able to pursue the proper educational opportunities to prepare myself for a fruitful career path.
Four-year letter winner and member of the 2000 National Championship OU football team
Received the Jay Myers Award, given to a freshman athlete for outstanding performance in academics and athletics (1998)
Big XII Commissioner’s Honor Roll (1998-2000)
First Team, All-Academic Big XII (1999-2001)
Received the Don Key Award, given to senior athletes for exceptional academic and athletic accomplishments (2000)
Arthur Ashe All-American Student-Athlete (2001)
Received the Prentice Gautt Outstanding Athlete Award, given for excellence in academics, leadership and athletic ability (2001)
Received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for community service (2009 and 2010)
Founder, Salvation Army North Mabee Boys and Girls Club’s Daddy’s Invitational Charity Basketball Tournament (D.I.T.) and annual
Football Camp (2003)