Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a five-part series on the 2020 Tiger Hall of Fame.
Dale Pearson, who played a key role in helping the Cowley College baseball team to its first Juco World Series title, will be inducted into the Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Pearson was born in Oxford, England and was raised in Midwest City, Okla. He attended Midwest City High School, where he was an Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State selection. He was named to the Daily Oklahoman All-State Team, North/South All-Star Team and East/West All-Star Team, and earned Most Valuable Pitcher and Player of the Year honors at MCHS. He was also named to the Metro Conference Team and Oklahoma Sunbelt Classic Team, and was the Metro Conference Pitcher of the Year.
He helped Midwest City to finish as the state runner-up in 1995.
Pearson had visited a few colleges before coming to Arkansas City to check out Cowley.
“Once I got to Cowley, it felt like home,” Pearson said. “It was a small campus, but the people there were truly welcoming and friendly. They made me feel like I was important and that they truly wanted me to attend their school.
“The added bonus was being able to play for one of the best baseball programs in the nation. Dave (Burroughs) and Darren (Burroughs) were very open and honest about the type of player they were looking for and what they were wanting to accomplish for their program. You could feel their sense of pride in talking about the baseball program and their confidence in the direction that they were continuing to take it. I could tell that is was going to be a great fit.”
He helped the Tigers to win the Jayhawk East and region titles as a freshman en route to a 51-13 record.
Pearson then helped the Tigers to repeat as conference and region champions during the 1997 season. Pearson, who tossed three no-hitters during his sophomore season, won two games and recorded one save at the Juco World Series during Cowley’s magical run to its first-ever World Series title.
“He was a big-game pitcher,” Dave Burroughs said. “He did not shy away from big moments and had a big hand in helping us win that first World Series title.”
Pearson has fond memories of that team.
“After we were one game short of reaching the World Series in 1996, everyone came back that fall with a hunger to make the World Series,” Pearson said. “We didn’t have to discuss it; it was understood what our goal was. The coaching staff assembled all of the pieces that we needed to complete the task and pushed us mentally and physically to accomplish our goal. The coaches were, and still are masters of their craft. We all put in the necessary work to be successful and bought into the goal of winning a National Championship.
“We never understood the impact of what we were doing or the accomplishments of what we would achieve. It was truly an amazing time to be a member of the team and the college. Without the leadership of the coaching staff, it would not have been possible.”
Pearson’s three no-hitters and three consecutive shutouts remain a Cowley school record. With Pearson anchoring the pitching staff, Cowley went 104-24 during his two years at the school.
“I had great people to learn from my freshman year like, Chris Brown, J.W. Fowler, Junior Spivey, Kevin Paxson, Patrick Loving, Mike Heist and many others who showed not only me, but all of us what Cowley baseball was about,” Pearson said. “Work ethic, attitude, mental toughness and effort were all demanded on a daily basis. We were pushed and challenged to be the best on a daily basis and we had to rise to every occasion.”
After Cowley, he went on to pitch at Oklahoma State University and was later drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he played in the team’s minor league system.
Pearson helped the Cowboys to win the Wichita State Regional and Baylor Super Regional, and the team advanced to play in the 1999 College World Series.
Pearson credits a great deal of his success to playing baseball at Cowley for Dave and Darren Burroughs.
“Those two men taught us how to become men,” Pearson said. “Baseball was the main focus, but they also taught us so much more. They taught us how to become successful as an individual, but also as a team. We never put the individual first, it was always the team. We learned how to be accountable to the team and to ourselves. There was never a way out. We had to be responsible and learn from our mistakes and how to overcome them. Mental toughness was a key element. They taught us how not to put limitations on ourselves and took us to levels that we never thought were possible. Most importantly was trust. We could always — always go to them no matter the situation and they always took the time to listen and mentor us. They were our fathers while we were there and left a lasting impression to everyone they came in contact with. Those brothers set a high standard and brought us to that level while laying the foundation for us to live by to be successful at whatever we set out to do.
“I have the utmost respect for the Burroughs brothers and will be forever grateful for the impact that they had on my life. I tell people all of the time that if I could go back and play there again, I would in a heartbeat.”
The feeling is mutual for Dave Burroughs.
“It was a lot of fun to watch him pitch. He is very deserving of this honor,” Burroughs said.
After his playing days, Pearson went on to teach physical education for two years with Tulsa Public Schools and coached baseball at Booker T. Washington (Okla.) High School (2002-04). He then taught PE and World History at Tulsa-Union (Okla.) High School and was the varsity pitching coach (2004-14), helping the school to win three state titles.
He served as the head baseball coach at Putnam City North (Okla.) High School and taught World History (2014-18) before taking on his current role as World History and World Geography instructor and varsity pitching coach at Yukon (Okla.) High School
“I would like to thank the coaching staff at Cowley for giving me the opportunity to get an education and play baseball,” Pearson said. “Without their belief in me, I would not be where I am today or have the success that I have had.”
Pearson resides in Yukon, Okla., and has two sons, Isaac, 16, and Cooper, 14.
“An honor like this means I am leaving my legacy behind and hopefully shows others that hard work will pay off in the end,” Pearson said. “I have two young sons that now play baseball and for them to be a part of this, is every father’s dream. It is an honor to take my place in the Hall of Fame along with all of the other coaches and players who have come before me and set a standard of excellence.
“My hope is that I am able to continue to do the same through parenting and coaching high school baseball. It’s one of those things that you never think about and yet when you get the call, you don’t feel deserving. I would like to thank Dr. Pat (McAtee), Tom Saia, all of my teammates, the coaches, and all of my teachers and college staff who helped mold me along the way.”