Tony DiRienzo had to go back to his home country of Brazil to sign paperwork about serving in the armed forces back in the summer of 1972.
That journey to Brazil and back caused Tony to be a day late reporting to OU’s fall football camp that year.
Tony had been noticed by OU coaches when he was a Rotary Exchange student kicking soccer style for the Ardmore Tigers.
Back then Tony D, like most college age kids, had long hair.
The long hair and being a day late had the usually grumpy OU kicking coach Jack Baer in an even grouchier mood.
Baer was also OU’s equipment manager at the time.
Ironically, Baer had coached both George Kernek and Don Woolly when they played baseball for the Sooners.
Baer’s first bark was for Tony to cut his locks, since Jack was a crew cut stickler.
Next he wanted to see if DiRienzo could kick a 20 yard field goal.
So, Tony took the two steps sideways and was about to boot the ball when Baer yelled out.
“Not over in the stands, kick it toward the goal posts.”
DiRienzo, now a Purcell resident, easily made the kick and subsequent kicks from 30, 40 and longer went through the uprights.
DiRienzo, who is married to the former Carol Greene of Purcell, holds the OU program record for the longest field goal in school history.
DiRienzo’s program-record 60-yard field goal has now held up for almost 46 years. He achieved the feat Nov. 17, 1973 against Kansas.
It was against Kansas again in 1975 when DiRienzo was the only Sooner to score in a 23-3 upset loss.
Sooners were in the middle of back-to-back National Championships in 1974 and ‘75.
While DiRienzo was earning All-Conference honors, another soccer style kicker was being recruited.
Uwe von Schamann, who was born in Berlin, West Germany, had transferred to a high school in Fort Worth.
When Uwe made his way to the Sooner squad, Baer said the soccer style kicking was merely a fad.
Baer wasn’t the kicking coach much longer after that.