Switzer’s office: A tour through time
I spent Wednesday morning in Barry Switzer’s office in his home in Norman. We shot a video of Switzer talking about some of his favorite recruiting memories. The series begins on newsok.com on Thursday; I think you’ll enjoy it. But while the videographers were setting up, I just looked around Switzer’s office, which is full of memorabilia.
Switzer said he wasn’t really a collector, but over the years people have given him so much stuff, “you have to put somewhere.” Here are a few of the highlights:
* My favorite piece, and probably Switzer’s, is an old black and white photo, of a man standing on a docked boat. You can’t see the man’s face; the camera was quite far away. But it’s a great “feel” photo. Takes you back in time. The man? Frank Switzer, Barry’s father. The boat? Switzer’s first home. Frank Switzer in 1936-37 worked as toll collector for a bridge over the Ouachita River, and the Switzers lived under the bridge on that boat, which wasn’t really a house boat but served as one.
* A photo of Mike Shanahan working a practice, with the signature, “To Barry, thank you for giving me my start in football. Your friend, Mike Shanahan.” Shanahan was a graduate assistant on the 1977 OU squad.
* A framed Arkansas letter jacket. Sure looks small, but Switzer really hasn’t gained any weight over the years. Must have worn those things tight.
* Tons of photos of Switzer’s kids and grandkids.
* All kinds of action photos. My favorite: a Cowboy-Steeler Super Bowl picture, shot from the end zone, with Troy Aikman directing his offense just before the ball is snapped.
* A photo of Switzer, Larry Lacewell, Frank Broyles and Jerry Jones. A whole lot of Arkansas history in that picture.
* A photo signed by dozens of Heisman Trophy winners. Without taking the ball from its perch, two of the old-timer John Hancocks I recognized were John David Crow (1957 Texas A&M) and Dick Kazmaier (1952 Princeton).
* A 1956 Crossett, Ark., High School yearbook.
* Boxing gloves signed by Don King.
* A photo of a young Barry Switzer and Mickey Mantle. I always thought they sort of resembled each other.
* A late ’50s photo of a group of Razorbacks, still in uniform after an Arkansas practice. I love looking at old photos like that.
* A table full of championship rings and watches, placed under glass.
* A framed black and white photo of Jim Mackenzie, just his face. Mackenzie was Switzer’s great mentor. He’s been gone now 43 years this spring.
* An envelope signed, at different times over the years, by Barry Switzer, Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne, John McKay, Woody Hayes, Darrell Royal, Bud Wilkinson and Bear Bryant.
* A guitar signed by Tim McGraw.
* And maybe the coolest thing, which is a fan letter Billy Sims received in November 1978. Sims years later gave it to Switzer. “Dear Billy Sims: Even though we lost to Nebraska, you are still the greatest back in America. Love, Greg Switzer. P.S. No one can catch Billy. Vote Billy for Heisman.” Greg Switzer was 10 years old at the time.
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