New OU lineman Geirean Hatchett’s Oklahoma roots trace to the 19th century

New OU lineman Geirean Hatchett’s Oklahoma roots trace to the 19th century

Geirean Hatchett’s grandfather and great-grandfather were huge OU fans from western Oklahoma; now Hatchett is a Sooner, via the Pacific Northwest.

Berry Tramel

By Berry Tramel

| Feb 9, 2024, 10:00am CST

Berry Tramel

By Berry Tramel

Feb 9, 2024, 10:00am CST

(This story originally appeared in Berry Tramel’s newsletter. Subscribe here.)

University of Washington offensive lineman Geirean Hatchett entered the transfer portal in the wake of Husky coach Kalen DeBoer taking the Alabama job, and Hatchett this week announced his commitment to OU.

Like many a beaming mother, Jana Hatchett took to social media to congratulate her son.

“So proud of you @GeireanHatchett,” she tweeted. “Your papa is beaming right now! BOOMER!”

Wait. What? Who is “papa” and why would he care that his progeny from north of Seattle is leaving the Pacific Northwest for the Great American Prairie?

Glad you asked. Seth Brown of Edmond is ready to answer.

Seth wrote me this week to share the story of his first cousin, once removed. It’s a cool story about the blocker expected to fortify the OU offensive line in 2024.

Hatchett’s father, Bill, and Seth are first cousins. 

“The entire family is excited about Geirean’s decision to come to OU because of the deep Oklahoma roots, and OU fandom, of our family,” Seth wrote.

Here’s the story.

Seth’s and Bill Geirean’s father had a grandfather named William Herbert Hatchett, who was born near Bessie in 1902. Bessie is a hamlet between Clinton and Cordell in Washita County. William Herbert Hatchett was one of 12 children, and his father was a teacher who had moved from Nebraska to homestead in western Oklahoma in the middle 1890s.

William Herbert went on to graduate from Oklahoma Baptist University and eventually settle in Elk City, where he became a long-time and beloved teacher and elementary school principal, Seth Brown said.

William Herbert was also a “gigantic” OU fan.

“I have many memories of reading well-worn print copies of Sooners Illustrated at his home and listening to games on the radio with him in the mid ‘80s, before every OU game was on TV,” Seth wrote. “His dedication to the Sooners was evident to everyone.”

William Herbert Hatchett and his wife raised four daughters and one son in various western Oklahoma towns. Of those offspring, the only child still alive is Seth Brown’s mother; Seth’s parents live in Blanchard.

The middle child of William Herbert Hatchett was his only son, William Harold Hatchett, “Uncle Bill,” to Seth Brown. That is the “papa” mentioned in the tweet of Jana Hatchett.

William Harold Hatchett graduated from Elk City High School in 1965, attended Cameron in Lawton for a couple of years and ended up playing football and completing the ROTC program at West Texas State, before serving in the Army and heading to Vietnam, where he received a bronze star for his service. 

“Uncle Bill” spent most of his adult life in the Army and was stationed all over the world. His last posting was at Fort Lewis near Seattle, where he retired in 1990 as a major. William Harold Hatchett’s only son was William Hudson Hatchett.

Like his father (my grandfather), my Uncle Bill was a huge OU fan,” Seth wrote. “He attended most OU games that were played on the West Coast — such as the Rose Bowls in both 2003 and 2018 — and was able to take multiple trips back to Norman for games with his wife, son and grandsons, when both Geirean and Landen were being recruited by OU in high school.

When William Harold Hatchett died in 2022, his love for the Sooners was included in his obituary: “…His favorite pastimes were watching football, especially the Oklahoma Sooners, and skiing.”

All three of William Harold Hatchett’s children stayed on the West Coast. Seth Brown’s cousin, Bill, ended up in Ferndale, Washington, near the Canadian border, where Geirean and Landen graduated high school. Landen Hatchett just finished his freshman season at Washington, also as an offensive lineman.

The extended Hatchett family remains sprinkled throughout the Oklahoma City metro.

“Most of our family are huge OU fans,” Seth Brown wrote. “Though we were all supportive of Geirean when he chose to go to the University of Washington out of high school, we are over the moon that he (and potentially Landen) will be donning the crimson and cream for the next couple of years.”

Oklahoma history dating back to the pre-statehood days has helped draw Geirean Hatchett to Norman. 

“Geirean’s arrival at OU is not just the story of a kid from the Pacific Northwest who just happened to choose to transfer to OU because of a coach or a chance to play,” Seth wrote. “In many ways, decades worth of loyalty to the Sooners, family ties to this part of the world, and even Oklahoma’s unique history have helped draw this young man back to the state where his roots run deep and where much of his extended family still calls home.”

 

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Berry Tramel is a 45-year veteran of Oklahoma journalism, having spent 13 years at the Norman Transcript and 32 years at The Oklahoman. He has been named Oklahoma Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. Born and raised in Norman, Tramel grew up reading four newspapers a day and began his career at age 17. His first assignment was the Lexington-Elmore City high school football game, and he’s enjoyed the journey ever since, having covered NBA Finals and Rose Bowls and everything in between. Tramel and his wife, Tricia, were married in 1980 and live in Norman near their daughter, son-in-law and three granddaughters. Tramel can be reached at 405-760-8080 or at [email protected].

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