Owen belongs on OU mountain
We kicked off our Bob Stoops-at-10 series today, and I wrote about Stoops’ place in OU history. For the visual element, artist Steve Boaldin drew a Mount Rushmore edition of Sooner coaches.
The only discussion we had: Should Bennie Owen join Stoops, Bud Wilkinson and Barry Switzer on the list? The answer was, absolutely.
Brent Clark is an OU football historian. He wrote the Sooner Century book and a Joe Don Looney biography. Ask Clark who the greatest coach in OU history is, and he’ll answer Bennie Owen. Every time.
Owen coached in the days before national championships — at least before the AP poll brought the most elementary legitimacy to the process — but truth is, none of Owen’s OU teams were national-title caliber. Most were very good and some were great, but they weren’t Army/Navy/Ivy League/Notre Dame/Big Ten status.
Owen was great for another reason. He made football important at OU. When Owen became coach at OU in 1905, football had been played 10 years on campus, and the students loved it. But under Owen, OU football became a public entity. Not the statewide institution that Wilkinson made the Sooners in the late 1940s, but Owen made OU football appealing to fans in Norman and Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas.
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