Scouting the sports scene while realizing that playing in the National Football League can be humbling. Just ask the Dallas Cowboys.

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Throughout his football playing career, Jon Kolb earned a reputation as a gifted, hard-working and strong offensive lineman.

The Owasso native played center at Oklahoma State, earning All-American honors in 1968. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers and started in the offensive line for 10 seasons, earning All-Pro honors in 1979 and playing on four Super Bowl championship teams.

Kolb, who was selected to the Steelers’ All-Time Team, was considered one of the NFL’s strongest players, finishing fourth in World’s Strongest Man competitions in 1978-79. After his playing days, Kolb was a defensive line coach and strength coach for the Steelers.

Strength and conditioning continues as a way of life for the 71-year-old Kolb, who teaches kinesiology at Youngstown State University and Penn State University while also serving as a health science instructor at Butler Community College. He also continues personal strength workouts.

The energetic Kolb, who lives in Mars, Pennsylvania, recently formed Adventures in Training with a Purpose, a program that assists military veterans who are in need at no cost to the veterans. Its goal, according to an article in The Vindicator, is to help veterans experience a healthy and functional life.

It’s an innovative approach to assist in improving the lives of disabled veterans through training – forcing them to move to “expose them to things they ordinarily couldn’t or wouldn’t do. This program fills a gap in veterans’ services,” according to the article. It’s his way of giving back.

Tanner Kolb, one of Kolb’s three sons, was influenced by his dad. He is currently the assistant director of strength and conditioning at West Virginia, working with the wrestling and men’s soccer programs. Tanner previously worked in Stillwater as a fitness specialist at Stillwater Medical Center’s Total Health facility. In addition, he volunteered in OSU’s weight room in 2003 and worked as a prep strength and conditioning coach at Perry in 2004. 

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Southern California’s men’s basketball team has seen enough of Big 12 Conference teams this season. USC lost to Texas Tech (78-63), Texas Christian (96-61) and last weekend to Oklahoma (81-70) in the BOK Center in Tulsa. 

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Three Big 12 teams are in this week’s AP college basketball poll, including No. 1 Kansas (9-0), No. 11 Texas Tech (10-0) and No. 25 Kansas State (7-2). KU earned its lofty ranking after beating No. 9 Michigan State (92-87), No. 3 Tennessee (87-81 in overtime) and No. 17 Villanova (74-71). 

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After watching Oklahoma State’s loss to Nebraska in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Sunday, it appears the preseason forecast of a last place Big 12 finish for the Cowboys could be accurate. It’s early and the Cowboys’ chemistry and performance might improve when the newcomers playing time together increases.

Ron Holt is a sports columnist for the Stillwater News Press. Holt served as sports editor for more than 30 years and resides in Bixby.

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