It was an uncommon occurrence, one hall of fame simultaneously welcoming twin brothers through its doors. And the brothers proceeded with an uncommon acceptance, coming to the podium together and alternating jokes and thanks at the hall's pre-induction ceremonies.
"We accepted together, which is unusual, I think," Jets head coach Rex Ryan said today about his and brother Rob being honored Saturday night as the newest inductees into the Southwestern Oklahoma State University Athletic Hall of Fame. "We told a ton of old stories and really had a good time with it."
SWOSU was the school that provided the Ryans their chance to play college ball, then launched them into coaching and ultimately into the NFL. And a quarter century after the two finished their playing careers, they were back to accept their school's highest athletic honor. They'll be formally inducted in the spring.
"I'll tell you, it feels great," Rex told newyorkjets.com this afternoon during a break between connecting flights back to North Jersey. "We had a good crowd. My family was there, a bunch of my friends, some guys I played with. I had my mom there, plus the in-laws and a bunch of relatives. We had a great time, then went over to the president's house afterwards. It really was a fun night."
How much fun was it? Here's the start to Rex and Rob's dialogue, courtesy of The Oklahoman, which has the complete transcript on its Website:
Rob: "You want me to start?"
Rex: "Nah, I'll go ahead and start."
Rob: "You got it?"
Rex: "Yeah, I'll show you exactly how it's done. I am five minutes older and much more mature."
Rob: "That's what he's always claimed."
Rex: "Because there's some facts there.
"It's an unbelievable honor, really humbling to be Hall of Famers in your university. It's a proud moment, there's no question. When we came on campus, when our mom dropped us off here, we had no car. If we would've had a car, we would've drove back to Chicago. A little homesick. Just a tad homesick.
"But it was great. We ended up loving Southwestern. Very proud that we ended up graduating here. I know that was probably the biggest shock to everybody. But really, the school was fantastic, fantastic to us."
Rex said today that even though they had no script, he and Rob "knew what we were going to do. It wasn't really like I prepared a speech or anything. But it was great. It is humbling that our school thought enough of us to put us in the Hall of Fame."
Among the multimedia content at the event was a video of Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum giving his and the team's best wishes on Rex's big night, as well as a similar video from Dallas head coach Jason Garrett sending his and the Cowboys' best to Rob, their defensive coordinator.
SWOSU is in a small town called Weatherford, Okla., about 70 miles west of Oklahoma City. It is a little bit out of the way, but not so far away that Ryan has lost touch. He said he hasn't been back on campus for any big ceremonies such as Saturday night's since he graduated but that he tries to visit the school, not to mention his wife's parents, who he said live about 20 minutes west of the school.
After the gala weekend for the Ryan family and a trip back home, Rex is immediately heading back toward the middle of the country as he and the Jets' coaches, front office and college personnel department will be gathering at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Newyorkjets.com will be covering the Jets' participation in the combine workouts. Eric Allen and a crew from the team's broadcasting and multimedia department will have video from the weeklong session, and we'll have stories on Ryan's and Tannenbaum's Thursday afternoon addresses to reporters from Lucas Oil Stadium.