Switzer tales: Waymon Clark
Waymon Clark hasn’t played played football for OU in 37 years, and Clark is mostly remembered as the wild man who got kicked off the team in 1974 and has spent most of his life in Texas prisons and mental rehabilitation wards.
Barry Switzer still bittersweetly recalls how Clark got in trouble for stealing as a Sooner. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to pay for the item; he just didn’t want to stand in line to do it. Some have characterized Clark as criminally insane. I know at the least, he is a tragic figure in OU football history.
But grim expressions turn to smiles when the subject turns to football. Those who remember Clark remain amazed at the ballplayer he was.
Switzer recruited Clark out of junior college, where he was sort of a reverse Lucious Selmon. Clark was a defensive lineman who belonged at fullback. Clark’s juco coach told Switzer that if he put Clark at fullback, he’d never put him back.
Switzer assistant coach Gene Hochevar recalled the first play in practice that Clark ran the ball. “Everybody on the whole team’s on him,” Hochevar said. “He’s dragging them.”
Clark rushed for 1,014 yards in 1973, joining Joe Washington as 1,000-yard rushers on Switzer’s first team.
Clark was an intimidating force. In August 1974, before Clark was booted from the squad, Elvis Peacock was a freshman halfback. They were in the same backfield for a practice drill, when Peacock went the wrong way.
Peacock still remembers the conversation: “Look freshman,” Clark told him, “When I’m getting the ball and we’re running the lead play, you get that defensive end.”
Said Switzer, “He got their attention more than Galen Hall did.”
Clark stayed in hot water with his teammates. He once angered Gary Baccus, a tough-as-nails defensive end. Baccus told Hall, the offensive coordinator, to run the fullback stunt. Baccus wanted a piece of Clark.
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