It would be impossible to talk about the great college football teams and not include the mind-boggling exploits of Bud Wilkinson and his great Oklahoma Sooners teams. In his seventeen years as the Sooners' head coach, Wilkinson amassed a 145-29-4 record. Included in that span were separate winning streaks of 31 and 47 games, three national titles, four undefeated seasons, and thirteen consecutive conference championships. His career .826 winning percentage surpassed that of other coaching legends whose careers overlapped his, such as Woody Hayes and Paul Bear" Bryant.
It wasn't just the steady stream of victories and titles, however, that distinguished Wilkinson in a profession dominated by Type-A personalities and Xs-and-Os savants. Tall, blond, handsome, charming, and soft-spoken, Wilkinson was well-liked and would have fit well into today's media-driven model of the "successful coach." A star quarterback at the University. of Minnesota, Wilkinson emerged as a sports star who wasn't just an athlete. He earned a master's degree in English from Syracuse University and later pioneered the role of football-coach-turned-expert-television-analyst, beginning in the early fifties with his own coach's show at Oklahoma. He later achieved a different kind of notoriety in the sixties and seventies as a network-television commentator. Along the way, he also took a foray into politics and a brief return to coaching in the late seventies with the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals.