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OU announcer Bob Barry Sr.: Treasuring an Oklahoma institution as he signs off

A living testament to Sooner football announces 2010 will be his final season behind the microphone.
by Berry Tramel Modified: September 1, 2010 at 1:03 pm •  Published: August 31, 2010

NORMAN — Bob Barry fell out of his second-story window as a 7-year-old kid living two blocks east of Oklahoma City's Taft Stadium.

Landed on concrete. On his head. Fractured his skull. Never lost consciousness. Bled through all his orifices. Eyes, ears, mouth.

Lived to tell about it. Even made the front page of the Oklahoma City Times a day later, as he began an eight-week bedrest.

Pushed U.S. Rep. Lyle Boren to Page 2 of the June 8, 1938, edition.

Yep, David Boren's father.

That's how deep run Bob Barry's Oklahoma roots. Fifty years ago, Bud Wilkinson hired Barry as the radio voice of OU football, a post from which Barry will retire at the end of the season.

And 23 years before that, Barry was forging bonds with the family of the current OU president.

That's not what made David Boren Bob Barry's No. 1 fan — "I hear his voice, and it says Sooner spirit" — but it shows how immersed in Oklahoma lore is Bob Barry.

He's a living landmark. A relic, a surviving memorial of something past, but not a museum piece. A relic but also a link.

Bob Barry is 79 years old and is the last man standing from the Wilkinson era. Coaches, administrators, support personnel, they're all retired or passed. Except this slow-walking, joke-telling, easy-laughing man who is doing the same task for Bob Stoops' teams that he did for Bud Wilkinson's.

"An Oklahoma treasure," OU athletic director Joe Castiglione called Barry, and it wasn't hollow praise, even if Joe C. wanted Barry to step aside 10 years ago.

Boren saved Barry's job then, and while the radio call might not be as smooth as it was 20, 30, 40 years ago, turns out OU fans are rewarded these last 10 years after all.

Bob Barry going out after 50 years — 12 with OU, then 18 with OSU, now 20 back with the Sooners — seems proper.

Sometimes we need to be reminded of those things that went before, and while we can write them and research them, nothing takes the place of primary sources walking in our midst.

We've taken to calling Bob Barry "Senior," primarily because his boy, Bob Barry Jr., works in the business. But Senior seems a worthy title anyway.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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