Tahlequah Daily Press

July 2, 2013

Former NSU tight end dies at 47

By BEN JOHNSON
Sports Editor

— Former Northeastern State tight end John Gleason died Saturday of an inoperable brain tumor. He was 47.

Gleason, who graduated from Muldrow High School in 1984, started at tight end for the Redmen in the late 1980s and was an All-Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference selection.

“At 6 feet, 3 inches and 230 pounds, he was a great blocker and a great receiver,” said NSU alum Mike Adams, a teammate of Gleason’s. “He was just a tough guy from the country.”

Gleason was recently an assistant coach at Sequoyah High School. He served on Brent Scott’s coaching staff.

Then, after a brief stint working in an oil field, Gleason returned to the sidelines and became the head football coach at Westville.

“He realized coaching was his passion,” Adams said of Gleason, whose Westville team went 2-8 overall and 1-5 in District 3A-7 play in 2012.

Shortly after the Yellowjackets wrapped up play in the fall, Gleason “found out he was sick in November,” Adams said. “Then it got bad in January.”

Before Gleason died, Adams provided his former teammate with a special gift.

“In 1987, we won the OIC championship and all the guys wanted rings,” Adams recalled. “We didn’t get rings, but a while back I got in contact with the Josten guys and had rings made for ‘87 team. I wanted to get it to John before he died. I know he really appreciated it.”

Gleason is survived by his wife Angela — who was inducted into the NSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010 — and his two sons, Garrett and Braden. Funeral services for Gleason will be held Wednesday in Muldrow.