DO - Keller brothers among greatest OSU wrestlers

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Oct 13, 2003
Stillwater, OK
Keller brothers among greatest OSU wrestlers

By Berry Tramel
The Oklahoman

EDMOND -- After all these years, the Keller twins remain identical. Even down to their chosen profession.

NCAA wrestling champions for Oklahoma State in 1970, Dwayne and Darrell Keller bridged the Myron Roderick and Tommy Chesbro coaching eras.

Dwayne, NCAA champ in 1968 and '70, was Roderick's last national titlist and Chesbro's first. Darrell was NCAA champ in 1970 and '71.

Now both are homebuilders, Dwayne in Edmond and Darrell in greater Phoenix.

"I graduated (from OSU), and it was either teach and coach or build houses," Dwayne said.

The Kellers' father had been a homebuilder back in Kennewick, Wash., and Roderick had lined up Dwayne with a summer job framing houses, so the career was a natural.

So was wrestling. Dwayne, at 123 pounds, and Darrell, at 142, each won an outstanding wrestler award with the Cowboys.

Darrell beat Washington's Larry Owings in the '71 NCAA finals, the year after Owings beat Dan Gable for the crown in what remains the sport's greatest upset.

Dwayne came close to winning three NCAA titles. He was beaten in the finals his senior year by Oregon State's Roger Weigel.

"My son was born that morning," Dwayne said. Plus, he was overconfident, having dominated Weigel as a workout partner on a European tour. "I just got too hyper all day long," Dwayne said. "My energy level was zero. If I had wrestled him two days later, I would have thumped him."

Still, the Kellers remain among the greatest Cowboys ever.

"When I was in high school, I didn't even know there was college wrestling," Dwayne said. "When Myron Roderick started recruiting me, I didn't even know where Oklahoma was."

The twins were born 12 minutes apart -- Darrell is older -- but separated after high school. Dwayne came to OSU; Darrell went to a Washington junior college.

"Roderick didn't know there was two of us," Dwayne said. "I kept telling him I had a twin brother. He asked me, "Is he any good?'"

Yes, national-championship good. Just like his brother.

Twin powers
The Kellers are the most successful athletic twins in Oklahoma history. The top 10:

1. Dwayne & Darrell Keller: Each a two-time NCAA wrestling champion for OSU.

2. Ryan & Damon Minor: Led OU to the 1994 NCAA baseball title, then both made the major leagues. Plus, Ryan was an all-Big Eight basketball forward.

3. Phil & Paul Tabor: Linemen for Barry Switzer in the '70s, both made the NFL, Phil on defense and Paul on offense.

4. Joey & Stephen Graham: Major reasons OSU went to the 2004 Final Four and might go again in 2005.

5. Brad & Bryant Calip: Hobart football legends who led East Central U. to a No. 1 NAIA ranking in 1984. Brad is in the College Football Hall of Fame.

6. Rex & Rob Ryan: Buddy Ryan's boys were non-descript players at Southwestern State, but their coaching prowess took them to dueling defensive coordinators at OU (Rex) and OSU (Rob). Both now are in the NFL.

7. Glen Earl & Wayne Long: Sprinters in the '60s who were state record-holders at Douglass High School then All-Americans at OU.

8. Nick & Tony Purler: OSU wrestlers who each made All-American in the 1990s.

9. Kelly & Michelle Workman: Chickasha left-handers were major contributors to Sherri Coale's first three OU basketball teams.

10. Kim & Kelli Masters: Don't remember them? Think batons. The twins from Midwest City were the OU band's featured twirlers in the 1990s.

The top 10 twins in sports history:

1. Tiki & Ronde Barber: Ronde is an All-Pro cornerback with Tampa Bay; Tiki is the No. 2 rusher in New York Giants history.

2. Tom & Dick Van Arsdale: Out of Indiana, each played 12 NBA seasons and each made three all-star games.

3. Pavol & Peter Hochschorner: The Slovakians won 2004 Olympic gold in the men's canoe C2 doubles. They also won in 2000.

4. Phil & Steve Mahre: Phil and Steve finished 1-2 in the 1984 Olympic slalom, and Phil was a three-time World Cup ski champ.

5. Paul & Morgan Hamm: Paul won the 2004 Olympic all-around gold and high-bar silver, and Morgan joined him in helping the U.S. to a team silver.

6. Horace & Harvey Grant: Harvey led OU to 1988 Final Four, then played 11 NBA seasons; Horace was even better, playing 17 years and winning four titles.

7. Rich & Ron Saul: Each played a dozen years, 1970-81, on NFL offensive lines, Rich with the Rams and Ron with the Oilers and Redskins.

8. Georgina and Caroline Evers-Swindell: Two world-champion rowers, they won 2004 Olympic gold for New Zealand in the double sculls.

9. Daniel & Henrik Sedin: 24-year-old Vancouver Canucks are rising stars; Daniel has 61 career goals, Henrik 44.

10. Coco & Kelly Miller: Georgia stars now in the WNBA; Coco has averaged 7.7 points over four seasons, Kelly 6.4.
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Nov 1, 2004
In 1968 as a sophomore, Dwayne beat Rick Sanders in the NCAA finals, allowing us to win the NCAA team title. Sanders had won the outstanding wrestler award in the tournament the year before and was generally expected to win it again, until upset by Dwayne. I was a kid listening to it on the radio. To this day, it is still probably my favorite moment in Cowboy sports.