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Tales from the trail: Barry Switzer didn't just recruit Lydell Carr to OU — he recruited his whole family

BY JOHN HELSLEY, Staff Writer, jhelsley@opubco.com Published: February 1, 2011
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Barry Switzer recruited Lydell Carr to Oklahoma, where he joined the list of standout OU running backs. But first, Switzer recruited Carr's family. And friends. And neighbors…

That's what struck now-retired prep coach Ron Lancaster about Switzer landing Carr, not his wooing of the player as much as his way with all those who showed up at the Carr home when the Sooners coach arrived to sell one of Enid's all-time greats.

“Here we go into Lydell's home for the in-home visit and there's coach Switzer, myself, Bobby Proctor and I think Lucious Selmon,” Lancaster recalled of that day in 1984. “When we get there, the family is all kind of waiting. And it's not just the immediate family, it's the relatives.

“Coach Switzer goes in to recruit Lydell and, to my knowledge, outside of shaking hands and saying ‘Hello,' I don't know if he ever spoke to him again the rest of the night.”

Instead, Switzer worked the room.

Lancaster told Switzer who all was there. And Switzer did the rest, remembering each and every name and even allowing two youngsters to sit on his lap and feed him.

“He sat in a chair with aunts and uncles and all the neighbors and friends coming in to say hello and to meet him,” Lancaster said. “He sat with a baby on each arm, talking to everybody.

“He pretty well recruited the family. And that's what he would do and that's one of the reasons he was so successful.

“He was such a big name anyway in Oklahoma. When he'd come to a town like Enid and visit, he'd walk down the hall and disrupt the school, literally. He had such a charismatic approach that when he did come, he wanted everybody to know he was coming.”