Wishbone: Oklahoma Football, 1959-1985 [NOOK Book]

Overview

The Oklahoma Sooners dominated the world of college football during the 1950s. Under the leadership of Coach Bud Wilkinson, the team won three national titles and established an astounding record of forty-seven straight victories that still stands today. Yet by 1959, Wilkinson’s Sooners were showing signs of vulnerability, marking the start of a new and challenging era in Oklahoma football. Then along came a new offensive strategy, and OU began to dominate college football once again.

In Wishbone, veteran ...
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Wishbone: Oklahoma Football, 1959-1985

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Overview

The Oklahoma Sooners dominated the world of college football during the 1950s. Under the leadership of Coach Bud Wilkinson, the team won three national titles and established an astounding record of forty-seven straight victories that still stands today. Yet by 1959, Wilkinson’s Sooners were showing signs of vulnerability, marking the start of a new and challenging era in Oklahoma football. Then along came a new offensive strategy, and OU began to dominate college football once again.

In Wishbone, veteran journalist Wann Smith provides an in-depth account of Sooner football from the team’s final years under Wilkinson through its remarkable turnaround under Coach Barry Switzer. At the heart of this story is the phenomenal success of the Wishbone offense—a hybrid offshoot of the Split-t formation that Wilkinson employed so successfully in the 1950s. Though not without its risks, the Wishbone offense changed the face of college football and was a key factor in Oklahoma’s resurgence in the 1970s with Switzer at the helm. Drawing on firsthand accounts from coaches, players, and university administrators, many never before published, Smith takes us behind the scenes during this exciting comeback period to reveal not just what happened but why and how it happened. And he brings to life the personalities who played pivotal roles in the team’s renewed success, including Jack Mildren, Greg Pruitt, Joe Washington, Billy Sims, and any, many others. Sooner fans, indeed all fans of college football, will relish this account of the remaking of a football powerhouse and its return to glory.

 

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Since World War II, Oklahoma has been one of the most prominent football programs in college football. Smith begins with the fading of the Bud Wilkinson era and covers the Sooners' glory days of the 1970s and 1980s through Barry Switzer's last national championship in 1985. The author stresses the importance of the rumbling, revolutionary Wishbone offense to the revitalization of the program under Chuck Fairbanks and provides an in-depth look at Oklahoma football, on and off the field, through the tenures of five coaches: Wilkinson, Gomer Jones, Jim Mackenzie, Fairbanks, and Switzer. Why Smith doesn't go to the end of Switzer's reign in 1988 is a mystery, but this is a thorough history of the coaches, players, and games of that 27-year period. This will be of interest to Oklahoma fans, but less so to others.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806182865
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 11/3/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 562,158
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Wann Smith, a freelance journalist and writer, began sports writing in 2001. He wrote for online publications The Pigskin Post and College Football News (a Fox Sports contributor) from 2001 through 2003 when he founded the College Football Gazette. He has served as a contributing writer to Sooners Illustrated magazine since 2005; over 50 of his monthly columns have been published in their periodical. Additionally, Smith is a member in good standing of the Football Writers Association of America.

Jay Wilkinson, son of University of Oklahoma coaching legend Bud Wilkinson, was a standout football player at Duke University. During his senior season in 1963, he earned All-American honors, was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, and finished eighth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy. After graduation from Duke University in 1964, he chose to forego professional football, instead pursuing a divinity degree which he received from the Episcopal Theological School in 1967. After spending several years in public service, he worked in executive management in the financial services industry for 37 years. Recipient of the NCAA’s prestigious Silver Anniversary Award, Jay today is a noted motivational speaker. With four children and seven grandchildren, he and his wife Rita reside in Oklahoma City.  He is the author of Bud Wilkinson: An Intimate Portrait of an American Legend.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Foreword Jay Wilkinson xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 3

1 The Recession Begins, September 1959-January 1960 9

2 Into the Chasm, September 1960-October 1961 25

3 Fighting Back, November 1961-January 1963 37

4 Bud's Last Hurrah, January 1963-January 1964 53

5 Gomer, January 1964-December 1965 63

6 Renaissance in Norman Jim Mackenzie, December 1965-April 1967 79

7 Changing of the Guard: Chuck Fairbanks, May 1967-January 1968 97

8 Stability, Decline, and Crisis, February 1968-October 1970 105

9 The Magnificent' Bone, October 1970 119

10 Ascent, October 1970-January 1972 127

11 Conference Champions! October 1972-January 1973 141

12 Switzer-Land, January 1973-December 1973 153

13 Playing in the Dark: Part One, January 1974-January 1975 171

14 Playing in the Dark: Part Two, January 1975-November 1975 183

15 Back to the Summit, November 1975-January 1976 195

16 Transition and Resurrection, January 1976-January 1979 205

17 Julius Caesar and the Sooner Empire, January 1979-January 1981 237

18 New Decade, New Formation, January 1981-January 1984 253

19 Back to the 'Bone and Back to the Top, January 1984-January 1986 277

Epilogue: A Tempest Past 295

Notes 301

Bibliography 319

Index 321

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