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Son of Oklahoma athletic director dies of apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound

September 7, 1997

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ A triumphant day for Oklahoma athletic director Steve Owens turned tragic when his wife found their son dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police discovered the body of Steven Blake Owens, 25, after responding to a call about 7:55 p.m. Saturday of a gunshot victim in northwest Norman.

Preliminary indications revealed no sign of foul play, and police said the gunshot wound appeared to be self-inflicted. The case still was under investigation.

Owens, the 1969 Hesiman Trophy winner while at Oklahoma, released a statement Sunday, saying he and his wife, Barbara, were ``deeply saddened by this tragic loss of our son, Blake. There’s no way to express the pain that Barbara, Mikie and I and other family members feel. We appreciate the thoughts and prayers of our family and friends.″

Oklahoma president David Boren said in a statement Sunday, ``The love and prayers of the entire OU family go out to Steve and Barbara Owens and their family at this time of their tragic loss.″

The elder Owens became athletic director in August 1996. His association with the school dates back to the late 1960s, when he set rushing records as a tailback and won the Heisman Trophy. He then played for the Detroit Lions from 1970-75.

Saturday, Oklahoma beat Syracuse 36-34, the Sooners’ first home victory since 1995. The win came a day after Owens launched a $25 million campaign to improve athletic facilities at the school.

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