University of Oklahoma Honors Toby Keith With Red Solo Cups
The University of Oklahoma's men's basketball team -- aka the Oklahoma Sooners -- pulled out a special gesture to honor Toby Keith during their game against Oklahoma State on Saturday (Feb. 10).
According to a report from OU Daily, all fountain drinks and beers served during the game were handed out in red solo cups. Of course, that was a hat tip to Keith's own "Red Solo Cup," aka the 2011 mega-hit that Keith once playfully described to CMT as "the stupidest song that I have ever heard in my life."
Though it was a simple, sway-a-long ode to the simple joys of house parties and non-breakable drinking vessels, "Red Solo Cup" took off: It was a Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot Country songs chart.
The classic, easily recognizable red cups also made for a light-hearted way to remember Keith during the Sooners game, which came at the end of a difficult week for country fans. The country legend died on Monday, Feb. 5 after a two-year-long bout with stomach cancer.
Shortly after his death was announced, the Oklahoma Sooners' official social media pages shared a more somber remembrance: A photo of a black guitar balanced in a front-row seat bearing the OU logo, with a red solo cup sitting on the table in front of it. "Forever a Sooner," the caption read.
Keith -- an Oklahoma native -- held close connections to the University of Oklahoma throughout his life, despite the fact that he himself did not go to college, instead taking a job in the oil fields straight out of high school. After Sooner Nation shared their remembrance, the country star's daughter Krystal Keith provided some context about what the university meant to her dad and their family over the years.
"My dad started selling cokes at 12 or 13 years old in the stadium so he could see the games live. We have traveled as a family with the teams to bowl games and championships as long as I can remember," Krystal wrote. "Planning weddings, vacations and big life events around team schedules. He was also clear about where he was willing to spend his money when we went off to college."
That meant that Krystal and her two siblings were directed to enroll in OU, and that even after her brother did a short stint at another school where he'd been offered scholarships, he quickly made his way back to Keith's college of choice.
"When I was choosing, he told me, 'You can go anywhere in the world you want to go, as long as it's in Norman, OK and has Division 1 football,' which took the local Bible college out of the running," she added. "...He bled crimson and it's genetic."
How Did Toby Keith Die?
Keith died on Feb. 5 at the age of 62, according to a statement shared to his website and social media pages.
He had been battling stomach cancer for over two years, a diagnosis he announced to fans in summer 2022. Though he took time off to undergo treatment and rest, he vowed to return to the stage whenever possible. He kept that promise with a series of pop-up shows in Oklahoma, a televised performance of "Don't Let the Old Man In" at the People's Choice Country Awards and three sold-out shows in Las Vegas in December.
Keith is survived by Tricia Lucus, his wife of almost 40 years, and their three children, Shelley, Krystal and Stelen. He is also survived by multiple grandchildren and extended family.
Toby Keith's Sweetest Photos With His Wife, Tricia Lucus
Gallery Credit: Carena Liptak
See Photos From Toby Keith's Final Shows in Las Vegas
Gallery Credit: Carena Liptak