By Caitlin Hofen
Dubbed one of the “Dacoma Boys,” Milfred “Mel” Sharp attended Northwestern State College from 1951–1954, where he was an active member of baseball, track and basketball.
Making the basketball “A-Team” his freshman year and a starter for his remaining three seasons, Sharp carried the title of “set shot artist” through his career at Northwestern and was a high-scorer for the team. As well as being tough and determined, there were very few games when Sharp had less than four fouls or completely fouled out; this was considered a true sign of hustle.
Sharp holds the school records for most free throws made in a game at 19 and most free throw attempts in a game at 23.
In his senior season, Sharp made co-captain along with the other “Dacoma Boy,” Dean Chaffin. Together, the pair led the Rangers to a final successful basketball season. Playing with his famed “hesitation” shot, Sharp led the Rangers in many games as their highest scorer. Sharp was honored by the Oklahoma Collegiate Conference basketball team by making second team on March 19, 1953.
Off the court, Sharp was a mathematics major with a minor in physical education. A member of Kappa Delta Pi and the N-Club, he was not only a superior athlete but a scholar as well. He was one of five Northwestern seniors selected to have their college biographies appear in “Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges.” The nominees were selected based on character, scholarship and leadership in extracurricular activities and potential worth to society
Following his time at Northwestern, Sharp’s path led to the Army, where he developed an interest in industry. After his discharge in 1956, Mel enrolled at the University of Oklahoma to earn a master’s degree in school administration.
With plans to take an administrative position, a bulletin advertising a position needing mathematic skills and a master’s degree caught his eye. Mel took the job at General Dynamics, working on the Atlas missile project in California, where he focused on trajectory calculations before moving to administration.
In 1959, Sharp began his career with Boeing in Seattle, Wash., as a systems management analyst before moving into corporate planning and industrial engineering positions. In 1970, Sharp became director of purchasing for the 747 program, one of the largest commercial risk ventures undertaken by a single company at the time. As the company emerged, Sharp was assigned as director of international operations planning.
In 1982, Sharp acquired the Boeing subsidiary he was then managing, which paid off as Sharp and his partner sold that subsidiary for approximately $30 million. Sharp and his wife, Jo, established the Sharp-Kisner Scholarship fund at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, in honor of their late fathers, in 1986. Jo passed away in 2006.
Today, Sharp and his wife, Marnie, live in California. He keeps himself busy in business with investments in real estate and the stock market, as well as interest in the oil and gas industry.