Oral History Interview
Interview Conducted by
October 17, 2008
Oral History Project
Special Collections & University Archives
Edmon Low Library ● Oklahoma State University
An Oral History Project of the OSU Library
Interviewer: Jerry Gill
Transcriber: Victoria Massey
Editors: Jacob Sherman, Latasha Wilson, Juliana Nykolaiszyn
The recording and transcript of this interview were processed at the Oklahoma State
University Library in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
The purpose of O-STATE Stories Oral History Project is to gather and preserve memories
revolving around Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College (OAMC) and Oklahoma
State University (OSU).
This project was approved by the Oklahoma State University Institutional Review Board on
October 5, 2006.
Scholarly use of the recordings and transcripts of the interview with David Treece is
unrestricted. The interview agreement was signed on October 17, 2008.
An Oral History Project of the OSU Library
About David Treece…
Dave Treece, Pistol Pete in 1984-85, lived in the Nevada desert town of Hawthorne before
his family moved to Edmond, Oklahoma. He attended public school there, beginning in the
sixth grade. He enrolled at OSU in the fall of 1979, majoring in architecture.
Active in his residence hall complex, Scott-Parker-Wentz, Dave was a floor president
and later president of Parker Hall. He was active in the Homecoming Committee and other
activities of the SPW complex. Always interested in sports, Dave proudly points out that he,
“attended all football, basketball, and wrestling games each year without missing one.” His
interest in OSU and sports convinced him to try out for the Pistol Pete mascot competition in
Dave balanced his student leadership activities and his Pistol Pete commitments with the
rigorous academic demands of his architecture major. He completed his bachelor’s degree
in architectural studies in 1983 and participated in the Travel Abroad program the following
summer. He completed a bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1985, and that same year he
was nominated by the School of Architecture for recognition in “Who’s Who in American
Colleges and Universities.”
In 1985, Dave joined a small architectural firm in Baltimore, Maryland. Later he worked for
RTKL and Anshen+Allen, and currently he is an officer and vice president of Cannon
Design located in Baltimore. His primary focus has been in the planning and design of
hospitals and medical facilities across the U.S, and internationally. He proudly notes that in
2007 his firm designed the interdisciplinary research center on the OSU campus.
David and his wife, Marcia, have two children, Austin and Kendall. All family members are
active in scouting, and Dave is a volunteer at the unit, district and council levels.
An Oral History Project of the OSU Library
Oral History Interview
Interviewed by Jerry Gill
October 17, 2008
My name is Jerry Gill and today is October 17th, 2008. I’m visiting
David Treece at the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center on the OSU
campus. This interview is for the O-STATE Stories project of the
Oklahoma Oral History Research Program. David, welcome back to
campus. Now I understand this is a special weekend, tomorrow the
parade is a special day for the former Pistol Petes.
Yes, we’re looking forward to do that.
Now this is a parade marshall parade week?
Parade marshall as a collective whole with all the old Petes. We’re just
all so excited about this. We are.
You’ll be up there on the float in the front of the parade?
We are. Looking forward to that. We’re always in there somewhere—
12th, 13th position but now we get to be the lead dog, I guess.
There is nobody scraping manure.
That’s right. Well they say if you’re not the lead dog you didn’t get any
better, so I don’t know how we can top this one. (Laughter)
Well, let’s go back a little bit. Tell us a little bit about the first time you
remember seeing the Pistol Pete mascot?
Gosh that has to have been high school. Came up for a football game, I
wish I could remember the year.
Remember your first impression?
Oh, just phenomenal. He’s such a big character and everybody wanted a
little piece of him. You know, leading the cheers and he just had a great
time on the field. So I didn’t really think much about it because I wasn’t
sure exactly when I was going to make it up—because I had to go back
to work a little bit before I made it up to college. I knew the career
choice I had wasn’t going to allow a lot of time for any extracurricular
activities, but I remember thinking that it was such a neat thing to see.
David, tell us a little bit about yourself. Growing up, a little bit about
Well my dad was in civil service, part of the military background. So I
grew up in Nevada and, of course, the only football team that you saw
on TV back then was the Oklahoma Sooners. Well Dad, anytime he
could root for anybody from Oklahoma, he would do that. So basically
that was all I knew growing up as a young kid until we moved back to
Oklahoma. I’ve always had something orange on growing up. I just kind
of gravitated to that color.
Did your parents go to Oklahoma State?
No, they did not. They both, right out of college, went into military and
civil service and all of that but they knew that they wanted their kids to
go to a university. Growing up in Edmond everybody just assumed that
was going to be Central State at the time and so that’s where my folks
wanted us to go. The more and more we went, the more my brother’s
started gravitating to Oklahoma State so all of us kids went to [OSU].
Were your brother’s older?
I had an older brother.
Did he go to OSU first?
He did and he graduated in chemical engineering and I would drive up. I
was working and waiting my turn to come up here. So I would come up
to Stillwater on the weekends and my brother and sister-in-law lived in
married student housing. I’d come up after an all-night job at Safeway
Bread Plant. I’d get up here about six o’clock in the morning and sleep
on their couch until game day and attended with them.
What did you first think about being Pistol Pete? When did that first
come to you that you might want to be Pistol Pete?
That’s an interesting subject. You know again, having to work my way
through college, my sister got me a job at the Kappa house being a house
boy. So the first day there I walked in and I met Rob Reynolds who was
an alternate Pete to Shane LaDuke at the time. So I started talking with
Rob, but Rob and I didn’t hit it off at first because I thought, “Okay
here’s this frat boy” and I was independent. They were talking about all
the frat stuff that was going on and Rob started giving me a hard time.
So I thought, “Oh boy what is this guy’s story?” I come to find out, he
was a Pistol Pete and Rob and I ultimately ended up being very good
friends and did things together when we weren’t in class. We did just
tons of stuff.
Spring break came along and Oklahoma State made it to the Big Eight
Championship game and they needed Pistol Pete to go up there. Shane
LaDuke was going skiing in Colorado and Rob already had other
commitments and they said, “Dave, would you wanna do it?” and I go,
“Well I don’t know anything about this” and he says, “Oh well, let me
show you how to do it, put the garb on.”
Were you an alternate Pete or anything?
Isn’t that a little unusual?
It was very unusual. I mean to have both Pete’s not having the chance to
go up for the big…
Normally you go through the try-outs and special things you have to
learn about etiquette. You put on the uniform?
Well, Rob and Shane spent a little bit of time, “Here’s what you do.” So
I had just a quick crash course and I went up with the cheerleaders that I
didn’t know. But I had a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun and that was the
What year was that?
That was ’83 or was it ’82? Now, I’m getting foggy. I’m getting too old.
(Laughs) But Oklahoma State made it to the championship game against
Missouri and went into overtime and won the Big Eight Championship
up in Kansas City. So when the program for basketball came out, the
Pete that was on there was me instead of Rob, who was the current Pete
or Shane LaDuke. Here was this newcomer—so I was able to use that as
experience when I decided to try-out.
And you liked it?
I enjoyed it. And, of course, with the backing of Rob and Kurt, both of
those guys encouraged me to try out.
So later that spring you went through the try-out process.
Can you recall a little bit about the process for trying out for Pete?
What you had to do to become Pistol Pete?
I remember there were three or four former Pistol Petes and they all are
scrutinizing each candidate that comes in and then Myron Roderick’s
wife, I don’t remember what her first name was but she was on the
committee. They asked a lot of interview questions, like why and
backgrounds and things like that and then you had to put on the head and
they would give you a situation and you had to act, touchdown or bad
call or whatever it may be. So you really had to work at the exaggeration
of emotions because everything is so much bigger with that and you
really had to go through that and just act out all the situations right and
left and then new things you would want to bring in as Pete.
What were some of the things after you got chosen as Pete. Did you have
some of this etiquette training, if you will, dos and don’ts?
Well, yes and the year that I was Pete was the first year that the Athletic
Department took it over. Before it was a student activity, so Dave Martin
was the one that took it over and he said, “Remember, you’re
representing Oklahoma State. Everything you do reflects on the
University. Every action, every outing that you do. You’re the
ambassador, you’re the salesman, you’re the marketing guy for
Oklahoma State.” They did talk about dos and don’ts. Again all the little
kids are looking at you, all the alumni, and students are looking at you.
Not that there was a lot of pressure, they just wanted to remind you, at
some point, every part of that game somebody is watching.
And you don’t take the head off.
Right. You want to keep that little bit of mystery and it would get hot at
these games, so you would want to go back in the tunnel and drink sodas
or water or whatever it may be but you always kept that head on. You
always kept that persona of Pistol Pete.
Tell us a little bit about the uniform that you wore; of course you had the
head piece, but about the rest of the outfit as well.
Well obviously the cowboy boots and jeans. That’s the staple right there
and then the leather chaps that Okmulgee Tech made, so part of the OSU
family. The shoe boot and saddle, they came up there and measured all
the Petes for all the right length. I’m 5’10 but there’s going to be some
Pete’s that were bigger. So they had to make sure that uniform could fit
a group of folks. But the chaps and then the black vest, white shirt, I
think there was a western store down in Oklahoma City that donated the
.357 magnum gun that we carried, the double barrel shot gun—the
noisemakers as we like to refer to them.
Did you have training on those?
We did. Captain Tye was the security guard and he always made sure
that we had the right blanks and we had to order through him. Never fire
at anybody, always up in the air away from everybody. Always making
sure the fire safety issue was well covered. Captain Tye went to a lot of
the away games. He was sort of the head of the security and he kept his
eye out for us, making sure that we were safe as well, but making sure
we followed all of the safety aspects on the firearms. I think that’s still
important today. Probably more so today than any other. I think
everybody is under the scrutiny of the firearm safety.
So can you share a little bit about some of the activities, for example,
how many athletic events in a typical year here would you attend? Just
Well, obviously all of the sporting events, whether its baseball,
basketball, football, a couple of golf outings when they had the
fundraiser we would attend those. Wrestling events whether it was
myself or Rick Wilson, we attended every sporting event, but then you
would get requests for parades, birthday parties, weddings and things
like that. So the number of Oklahoma State related were probably well
into the hundreds because the Alumni Association would want Pistol
Pete to escort high school honor students to banquets. We would attend a
few of those, so it had to of been in the hundred range for university
events, but by the time you added everything else, I think I counted close
to 350 that year of events that I did.
How did you balance your two lives here? Your Pete life and your
student life? Was that pretty tough?
Well, it was funny, when I interviewed and got Pistol Pete, the dean of
the School of Architecture—I was the first and only architecture student
to ever be Pete. But the dean brought me in and said, “You need to drop
out of architecture this year.” I said, “Why?” And he said, “Well,
architecture is such a demanding career that I just don’t think you can do
both.” So the professor that I had for my design studio, he said, “All I’m
asking you to do is come and give me a hundred percent. Not a 110, not
a 105, not 98, a 100 percent of your time when you’re in studio and then
you give a hundred percent to your Pistol Pete duties. We’ll work it out.”
Do you remember who that was?
George Chamberlain. He passed away a few years back, but he ended up
being my favorite professor throughout, just because of the backing that
he gave to me during my school years in architecture. It was tough but I
had my highest GPA that year. It was all balance and making sure that
you got all the work done, got the design studies done, and still made the
demands that Pete has.
So you had a crash course in time management.
It was a very tough crash course, but I enjoyed every year and again I
just thank Professor Chamberlain for that.
Was the Pete experience what you’d thought it would be?
Afterwards, looking back
I knew it would be fun. I didn’t realize how much fun. Just the people
you would meet, the first game we went to at Arizona State, we were
playing a nationally ranked Sun Devil team and Oklahoma came in as
underdogs but we had a pretty decent team. Thurman Thomas, Rusty
Hilger, and Barry Hanna—who it ended up being a game saver for us in
the Gator Bowl—but after the game was won some of the alumni came
over and said, “Boy, we’re so happy to see Pistol Pete out here and all
the spirit squad,” and gave us a little something to go out afterwards and
it was just the whole experience, meeting new people, meeting families
and the kids, the kids absolutely adore Pete. They all want their picture
taken and, of course, when you can give them a little bit of the spent
shell when they come up to you and talk to you or autograph pictures,
their eyes just light up. I think that’s the most important thing that I’ve
cherished and I have some letters that I’ll certainly share with you, but
the letters that the kids would write, I think that’s the most important
Speaking of memories, we talked about the basketball game after you
became Pistol Pete. Do you remember the first time being out on the
field or maybe even in the basketball game too? Was that special for
I was scared to death, and it was at the Big Eight baseball tournament.
They asked Pete to be there. “What do I do, what shouldn’t I do?” and it
was in the late spring, early summer down in Oklahoma City. Just
watching the fan reaction, making sure you didn’t stand in front of
people, of course, they love Pete, but they also want to see our Pokes
play baseball! (Laughter) So you had to really be aware of that and then
of course with that you would have the—Pete always has an alternate or
second Pete, you need the other person to be your eyes cause you can’t
really see what’s going on. You’ve got two little holes about this far
away from your eyes, [Treece makes hand gesture] you have two holes
in the ear and you kind of have to shrug your shoulders to see that you’re
not bumping into anybody and the chin has a hole, so those are the only
places you can look out so you still need that other person to help you
You were talking about little kids; one thing that you said is that you
have to be careful, that you might trip over them because you couldn’t
see them sometimes.
You’re absolutely right. There’s a lot of times where two kids come up
and where are they and you have to kind of look in the chin and have to
look up and, “Oh there they are.” So then you get down on their level.
Did you find that the kids love Pete?
Absolutely. They would come up and give you hugs. I have one little
three year old who I got something in the mail from the mother. It said,
“My three year old daughter was making some Halloween decorations
and she wanted Pistol Pete to have one.” So I got that in the mail and I
have that in my collection of things. But they do, they really think the
world of Pete. Of course, I hope a lot of the kids back then are graduates
of Oklahoma State at this point.
Do you remember the historical Frank “Pistol Pete” Eaton, the
inspirational character for the OSU mascot? What personal
characteristics of Frank Eaton did you try to portray in the on-field
Well, I think a lot of it might have come from, he was known as a sharp
shooter. Now of course with gun safety, but everybody knew that Frank
Eaton was a marshal and always gave demonstrations on his firearm
expertise and marksmanship here. So you would try to set up some
things even though you would aim high you would act as if you’re
shooting somebody, try to act like they were being hit by the Pete, but
you still would want to make sure that you knew the safety was on.
What about the Pete swagger?
The Pete swagger, the bowleggedness of the cowboy and the whole
cowboy persona, everything you did you kind of swagger a little bit and
walk bowlegged and the spurs we would have as well.
David, picking of your comments about portraying Frank Eaton, the real
person, did it make a difference for you in terms of knowing that is
OSU’s mascot, that you were actually portraying a historical figure, not
an animal or mythical character, did that make the OSU’s mascot more
special for you?
Well, I think so. Again, everybody knew Frank Eaton and Frank Eaton
Jr. We had a chance to meet him or one of his sons and I asked him,
“What do you think about the mascot, knowing your dad was an
inspiration of that?” And he said, “It’s such a touching moment knowing
that that’s a legacy being carried down.” So that’s what I believe, that
Pistol Pete is carrying on that legacy of Frank Eaton. It is special and
you look at some of the other mascots across the U.S. and well okay,
that might be fun, but this is really portraying an individual and
somebody that really means a lot to the history of Oklahoma State.
Picking up on that comment, what do you think Pete represents to OSU
fans and friends of the state of Oklahoma? How does he personify and
typify our values?
Well, I think if you look at anything, the whole persona of a cowboy,
hardworking, typically honest, I guess just the character tradition of the
state of Oklahoma. A lot of ranching, a lot of agriculture, whether that is
still true as far as the agriculture or the persona of a cowboy, I think it
still holds true today, there’s still a lot of good, solid roots…
The frontier and the American West?
Exactly, and I think it’s just a unique and special character and I still
think the alumni, I mean any time you were Pete and you would walk
by, you were no longer Dave, you were no longer a student. I was called
Pete the entire time. I think the alumni have really embraced that
You get identified occasionally at OSU functions as a…
Still to this day?
To this day, “Oh, this is Dave Treece, he was a former Pete.” Or “He
was a Pete when I was going to school.” You do. A lot of the alumni or
parents of friends that I have say, “Yup, former Pistol Pete.” And they
say “Oh really? What year?” “Oh well I remember this game...” So
they’d bring back a memory of that year and I’d say, “Yeah, I was Pete
What does Pete represent to OSU alumni? What does it mean to OSU
Oh man, that’s a good question, Jerry. I would hope that it’s some very
positive feelings with the whole tradition of Oklahoma State and Pete is
just one part of that tradition. I’m not sure I have a good answer for you
on that one.
That was a good answer. Can you share some special and meaningful
experiences and memories that you had as Pete?
There were several. Obviously, you kick off with football and we had a
pretty decent team that year. I think we went ten and two. Rusty Hilger
was quarterback, and Thurman Thomas, Barry Hanna, Leslie O’Neil on
defense. And we're heading up to Nebraska and we all thought that was
going to be the chance that we would finally beat Nebraska at home.
They had just lost to Syracuse and we were talking earlier about Garth
Brooks. He did a song called the “Husker Busters” sort of poking fun at
the Huskers getting beat by Syracuse. We walked in with the boom box
playing as loud as we could and the Husker fans really got a kick out of
that. And the security came up here and you said, “You are not to fire
that shot gun, you are not to fire that pistol or you’ll get kicked out of the
stadium.” Captain Tye overheard that and he says, “No this is tradition.
Pete has to fire the gun. You do what you’re supposed to do as mascots
and I’ll take care of the rest.” And I said, “Okay.”
So the football team came out of the tunnel and both barrels going
“boom boom” as loud as it could and the security guy started just
marching over at me with this stern look and Captain Tye said, “I gave
him permission to do that. You deal with me, not with him.” We ended
up losing the game and it was a very close game, but still a lot of fun and
just that memory of, “Okay, am I going to get kicked out of the stadium
by doing something as Pete?” So I was a little bit nervous about that.
Then the OU game we came down and we really thought we could beat
OU at their place, it had been a little while and kept the game real close
and you know that’s a hostile crowd down there. Bedlam means just
Did they ever heckle Pete down there?
Well of course. I mean you’re a target at an away game. You’re the
representative of the University and we scored on them a couple times.
Another close game was Gator Bowl. Those are probably some of the
roughest fans. The curse words, the spitting, people throwing things at
you as you were going through the spirit walk and pep rally. But that
game was fantastic, that’s when everything clicked and, of course the
Barry Hanna touchdown to win that game 20 to 19, I believe was what
the score was. So that was a fantastic year. Getting to meet some of the
football players afterwards and even the players get a kick out of Pistol
Pete and everything else. Leslie O’Neil, I would see him walking across
campus and he would yell at me, “Hey Pete, how you doing?” So I
wasn’t Dave to anybody. I was Pete. (Laughter) And Johnny
Washington, big Johnny Washington.
Did you lose some of your self-identity?
Well, you do you become that character for that year. You do everything
you can to uphold that tradition as Pete.
How is it to have an alter ego?
You can get away with more. (Laughter) Well Pete did that, that wasn’t
Dave. You start talking about Pete as another person.
I gotta ask you, be candid now, your most embarrassing moment or
moments as Pete?
I was asked by a ref to get away from the free-throw line at an OU game.
I was holding up an OU with a big line through it. (Laughs) I was
holding it up and the ref asked me twice to move and he says, “Now if
you don’t move, I’m gonna have to kick you out of the game,” so I had
to kind of scoot over a little bit and he kept pushing me back over and
that was on national TV, so that was the…
Well that would have been a highlight, to kick Pete out of the game!
Well and it was at Gallagher. You know, I was kind of embarrassed
about the ref getting on me but that was probably the most embarrassing
part. I don’t think I ever tripped, I don’t think I ever did anything too
Did you ever fire off your gun when you weren’t supposed to?
Well, they did ask us to not fire it off in Lloyd Noble and I got scolded
by this guy for doing that but Coach Hanson came up and said, “Thank
you.” (Laughs) But that’s about it. That was the only time, of course,
you know you go to some places and they just despise the gun because
of the noise and everything and because it just kind of shocks, “Oh
what’s that, oh there’s Pistol Pete again.” But that was the only thing
that I can recall that—others may jump and, “Oh Dave, you did this.”
But you know I’ll blame old age. I can’t remember that.
What about your interaction with OSU fans, especially children. You
mentioned that earlier. Did you have some heartwarming moments that,
sometimes you remember?
The Special Olympics. We did a couple of Special Olympic activities
here. Those kids were so loving and you give them just a little bit of
time and attention and they enjoy it. I had two letters from some Special
Olympians that when I wrote the autograph of Pistol Pete, the parents
wrote back and said, “Thanks, it’s up on his wall.”
And again, the kids love the birthday parties, the kid was special if they
had Pistol Pete come to his birthday party. But even weddings, you’d go
to OSU alums. My sister married an OU fan. I showed up at her
wedding and, well it’s okay because my nephew plays quarterback now
for us. He’s doing all right. But you go to the weddings as Pistol Pete,
you dance with the bride, you dance with the mother of the bride and all
David, there’s a connection with our quarterback. Is that correct?
That is true.
Can you share that with us a little bit?
My nephew is the starting quarterback at Oklahoma State University,
Zac Robinson. He’s doing okay; he’s turned out to be a pretty decent
quarterback. Quiet kid. I brought him up with another nephew. I had to
take care of some things at the School of Architecture on one of my
visits out and Zac was wearing his OU hat and my other nephew had his
OSU hat. We walked through Heritage Hall and then we took them out
on Lewis Field and he looked around and said, “This would be a fun
field to play on.” I said, “Yeah I think it would be, Zac.” So all of the
recruiting stories went around and we finally landed him here and he’s
solid orange, orange to the bone at this point. Even his dad who played
football at OU, you see him wear a lot of orange.
At the time, what did it mean, you being Pistol Pete? Wrap up some of
your thoughts of what it meant to be Pistol Pete, at the time.
Well, at the time, as a student, it was just a huge honor. Everybody
wanted to know who Pistol Pete was, but then when people found out
that you were Pete, I think a lot of the students thought that was a very
neat thing, a very cool thing to do. I was very honored to be chosen, it
was a tough interview process, but the competition—the alternate that I
had was Rick Wilson. He and I did so much together, he was a great guy
to hang with on the football outings and to be each other’s eyes and
there’d be sometimes we’re in the middle of the game we would swap
who was being Pete and it was seamless, you didn’t know who it was.
But it was just a huge honor to be Pete. It is something that I’ve held on
and very proud of since graduation, moving on and…
Looking back now, what does having been Pete mean to you?
It is something that stays with you the rest of your life. I think you meet
any former Pete, you realize how deep the love of Oklahoma State is. It
is such a deep rooted, we all hang around and we’re looking forward to
this reunion and swapping stories of what we did as Pete, you just can’t
take that away from somebody.
Here’s a little history. This is the 50th reunion of the first year Pete was
out on the field with the hat…
The papier-mâché hat.
The papier-mâché hat, also in 1958, the year Frank Eaton died. So it’s
two 50 year reunions.
And a huge honor for us to come back, a privilege and honor to be the
parade marshall and to have all of the celebration with the former Pistol
Petes. Some of them aren’t with us anymore, so we’re going to carry on
their legacy as well. We want to make sure that we don’t forget those
first students that portrayed Pete that started this.
Carry on their legacy. What do you think the collective legacy is of the
Pistol Pete over the years?
I think the overall deep spirit that everybody has and the love of the
University. You can’t watch a game and not look out for Pete anymore.
You want to make sure that you see him, make sure that that student is
carrying on those same traditions and honor of that legacy. Frank Eaton
was a great character, a great individual and set the standards for what
we as Petes are trying to carry on.
And your legacy? How do you want to be remembered as a Pete?
That I did the best I could. That I tried to make things a little fun. That I
didn’t do anything to tarnish the image of Pete. Hopefully I did achieve
How have your experiences as Pete influenced your life?
I think I came out of my shell. I grew up a very shy and quiet kid. Pete
allowed you to open up some of the quiet, the hidden tendencies and
think, “Wow, life can be much more fun by letting some—don’t keep
your emotions so bottled up, just let it out and have fun.” I’ve become a
little bit more outgoing since Pete, and of course the characters that have
played Pete, the other Petes that we run around with, they don’t let you
keep anything in. (Laughter)
Are there lessons and disciplines that you learned from your Pete
experiences that still influence your life today? You talked about time
management, having to do so much; are there other lessons you
I think just the ability when you meet somebody, to make sure it’s an
honest handshake, an earnest look at somebody in the eye. Even as Pete,
I wanted to make sure I made eye contact behind the mask and even
afterwards on whatever you did. If somebody knew that you were Pete,
you just want to make sure that you met an honest handshake.
What would you tell a young student, an OSU student or a young person
that is thinking about being Pete? What would you tell them?
Go for it! (Laughter) Go for it! It would be the most fun you would have
in that school year. The opportunities that you get a chance to participate
in, the people you meet. I try to encourage it. “Oh, I’m thinking about
going for Pete.” “Well don’t think about it. Do it. It is something you’ll
never regret. It is something you hang onto for the rest of your life.” It is
an honor and a great tradition to portray Pete. All guns out, just go for it.
Looking back, if you had to do it all over again, would you do it?
Absolutely, in a heartbeat, no second thoughts. Maybe try a few more
things; you know, “I wish I would have done that.” But no doubts at all,
no second thoughts. I’d do it in a heartbeat.
Tell me about your other life at OSU, with some of the other activities,
leadership opportunities, other things you were engaged in here at OSU.
It was interesting, again, with the School of Architecture. That program
is so in-depth and tough. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to do anything
else. You were up all night doing your design work and studies. The
professors put a lot of heat on you, if you weren’t doing this then you
weren’t serious about architecture. The year that I was Pete, again, they
had second thoughts on, “What’s your true dedication to architecture?”
So your life as a student was architecture. Now I was a house boy for a
sorority and that was a lot of fun. I got a chance to meet a lot of folks
outside of the studio, outside the life of architecture.
Did you meet your wife here?
I did not. I met my wife when I went to Baltimore and she was working
at the architectural firm that I went to work on.
So you left OSU, can you kind of tell us about your career since then?
I first accepted a job in Dallas. That would be a great place because you
can make it home for football games on the weekend. But the economy
was hitting pretty tough so I went out to Baltimore to interview for a few
jobs and about the only times I could make it back were Homecoming
games. I ended up being a one [time a] year visitor during those times.
But architecture is a great field. We always try to interview Oklahoma
State folks when they make it back out here. I still keep a contact with
Randy Seitsinger now, who is the Dean. I try to bring some OSU folks
out to our area. But it was very tough having gone to just about every
football game in my entire college career here and before when I went
up with my brother, all of a sudden having that streak ended. It was a big
withdrawal. We now have the package to where we can watch
Oklahoma State on TV. Whether its basketball, football, sometimes
you’ll get a wrestling match, it’s not very often, but once in awhile
you’ll catch a wrestling match on TV. So anytime Oklahoma State’s on
one of the programs, I watch it.
Speaking of different sports, did you have a favorite sport as Pete? You
talked a lot about football, what were some of the other events you
I was a huge wrestling fan. I watched Johnny Smith a little bit and when
he came out and won his NCAA when we were wrestling Maryland, I
had a chance to meet him out there. I’ve always been a wrestling fan,
that’s a sport that we’ve just dominated and still continue to do so. That
was probably my favorite sport. But not very many people understand or
watch wrestling unless you’re from the state of Oklahoma or Iowa or
someplace like that. But as a student, I never missed a wrestling match.
Basketball we kind of struggled a little bit, we didn’t have very many
great teams at that point, other than the one that went to the Big Eight.
But Matt Clark and Lorenzo Andrews, Barry “Half-Court” Hanna.
Those were some fun times to watch.
You took the job at Baltimore in the same position—have you stayed in
the same firm?
No, I started at a very small firm and then went to a national design firm
and since then I’ve changed twice—I’m with a firm based out of
Buffalo, New York—there are offices nationally and internationally. I
do healthcare architecture—more of a specialized field.
What facilities do you design?
Hospitals, clinics, medical office buildings…
So you’re excited about being back for the weekend with the other
I was just talking to another Pete yesterday and I said, “It’s Thursday,
I’m flying out tonight and I feel like I’m waiting for Santa Claus.”
(Laughter) It’s Christmas all over again. Especially this weekend, but
Homecoming is always a fun event to come back to and of course the
game day spirit was completely different the way it was back in ’84, but
just watching all of those new traditions and the tailgates and the Spirit
Walk and everything else the University has incorporated, it just makes
this weekend fantastic.
Does it make you proud that Oklahoma State University has that kind of
Oh, without a doubt. We always encouraged, I would take out little ads
“For Pete’s sake wear orange.” Well, it wasn’t until later on where it
really caught on and you walk in and you see this sea of orange in the
stadium. Some schools have the black out or the white out. Well we
always have an orange out every game and that’s neat to see.
David, you had a chance as Pete, probably more than most people, to
feel that sense of loyalty and pride that OSU alumni have. What is it that
makes OSU alumni so loyal, do you think, and so proud of their
I think its maybe part of the struggle for some—as a football team, we’re
always considered a second tier, in some eyes. Not alumni, we’re there,
we know we’re a lot better. I just think with OSU fans they’re not a
bandwagon fan. That if you’re an OSU fan, it’s a lifelong ordeal for you.
We embrace the team, we embrace the school. We embrace the
University. The whole tradition of Oklahoma State. It’s not, “Well, the
football team may be down this year, so I’m no longer going to wear
orange.” That’s not the case, if anything you become a little bit of a
tighter nit group. Help each other out in the highs and lows. We’ve been
through a lot.
David, anything else that you want to mention, anything that I left out
about OSU or Pete?
I do think it’s important to know that when the Athletic Department took
over helping Pistol Pete and the spirit group with its processes
throughout the year, I think that was a huge advantage that the spirit
groups got with the dedication from the Athletic Department. I think it
gets the spirit, it gets the legacy, it gets a lot of the name brand out a
little bit more with that. All the Petes that were before me that were
under the student activities center kind of had to beg, borrow, and hitch
rides up to a game and now the athletic department has just really taken
it over and did a hang up job. I also really appreciate what you’re doing
with this and making sure that the Pete legacy is continuing on and
making this whole weekend an even more special event for all of us old
guys coming back and trying to relive our youth. I think it’s a lot of fun.
We welcome you back to the 50th Pistol Pete reunion.
We’re looking forward to it. It’s going to be a cram packed weekend.
------- End of interview -------
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.