It was a fairly nondescript pep rally for a while. Up until Jack Overman took the stage. Or rather, the table.

It was a fairly nondescript pep rally for a while. Up until Jack Overman took the stage. Or rather, the table.
The Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a pep rally for Paint the Town Red Week, and toward the end of the rally, the 91-year-old Overman got up on a table to make himself heard.
Overman  was decked out in a crimson and gold boa, cap, lei, beads, pants, shirt, and, of course, cowbell. Not long after he climbed up the table, Overman’s voice brought the pep to the rally.
“When I went to school here in the 1930s, the yell leaders didn’t have to throw a girl up in the air 25 feet,” Overman told the crowd. “When I came here, I didn’t have athletic ability, but I had a cowbell and I could yell. I had a real loud voice. And that worked for me.”
Without taking a breath, Overman would swing from one topic in Gorilla history to the other, raising the crowd’s spirits.
“Who’s won 14 championships in their conference over the last 23 years? Who’s played in eight national championship games? Who has 75 All-Americans?” Overman asked the crowd. “What school not only has the most All-American athletes in the conference, but also had the greatest number of Academic All-Americans? Who has produced two winners of the Harlon Hill trophy and 12 National Football League athletes?”
The answer, of course, is Pittsburg State.
Blake Benson, Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, said this is the first year of the pep rally. The chamber attempted to have the pep rally last year, but it had been rained out.
“We just wanted to give the community an opportunity to come out and show their support for Pittsburg State,” Benson said. “There are a lot of people who don’t have a business, so can’t show what they’re doing for Paint the Town Red. We just wanted to show everyone just how much we appreciate Pittsburg State.”
Pittsburg Mayor Rudy Draper announced the proclamation of the week as Paint the Town Red Week during the pep rally.
PSU President Dr. Steve Scott also made remarks about how thankful the university is for the show of support from the community.
But the pep rally was really all about Overman.
“Are you proud to be a Gorilla?” Overman asked. “Being a Gorilla is a great thing, because we’re the only school that is the Gorillas. That means we’re No. 1, right?”

Andrew Nash can be reached at or by calling 231-2600 ext. 132.