Barry Switzer's life did not end when he stepped down as Oklahoma's football coach 20 years ago today. Instead, his new life began. Switzer became a bestselling author, won a Super Bowl, got remarried, joined the Screen Actors Guild, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and served as a football television analyst alongside the man he replaced with the Dallas Cowboys.
Not only did Switzer coach the Cowboys to victory in Super Bowl XXX, he also coached in various movies, among them "Any Given Sunday," "Varsity Blues" and "Possums." He appeared in television shows such as "Coach" and "Saving Grace," and still laughs at being named the new Notre Dame coach in an episode of "Arli$$." Switzer recently finished eight television commercials for Dunkin' Donuts in which he coaches various activities, including women's yoga, men's swimming, women's lacrosse and chess. His favorite role was getting to coach basketball, which has yet to air. "I always thought I was a triple threat," Switzer deadpanned of his acting prowess. In short, it is still good to be King. Switzer left his OU post on June 19, 1989, amidst an NCAA investigation and after several players had behaved badly, among them Jerry Parks, Bernard Hall, Zarak Peters, Nigel Clay, Charles Thompson and fellow author Brian Bosworth. Some claim these were the players who eventually brought down Switzer. Others believe it was Switzer who brought down Switzer. Given what has transpired since, could what happened 20 years ago somehow have been a blessing for Switzer? Switzer paused a bit and said, "I don't know, maybe it was. I bet people in the administration thought it was blessing." Switzer never has been overly philosophical about what could have been, what should have been or what might have been. In today's parlance, it is what it is. "It's just life. It's the roads you travel," Switzer said. "Whatever happens, happens. You make a few adjustments and prepare to take it. I never moped. I just went ahead." Imagine if Switzer had managed to remain as OU's coach? How many more national titles would he have won the past two decades? Three? Four? More? An average of 10 wins per season would have given Switzer 200 more victories, which would put him at 357 career victories. With 12-game regular seasons and conference championship games now in play, Switzer potentially could have averaged 11 or 12 victories annually, which means he would be creeping up on 400 wins. Penn State's Joe Paterno is the all-time Division I leader with 383 career victories. Florida State's Bobby Bowden has 382 career wins, pending his appeal to the NCAA that would have some of those victories vacated.