Oklahoma football: Bud Wilkinson in the wake of defeat
Notre Dame week has brought a lot of reflection from old Sooners. Anita Stinson called me this week. She’s 77 now, lives in Bethany, retired from the Corporation Commission. But in 1957, she was Anita McGee and a secretary in the OU football office, in particular for Eddie Crowder.
When Notre Dame beat OU 7-0 on Nov. 16, 1957, to end the Sooners’ 47-game winning streak, the fans sat in stunned silence at Owen Field. But they weren’t silent for long. They inundated the the Sooner football office with the primary communication device of the day.
They wrote letters. Anita tells me that within a week or two after that game, four huge bundles of letters, stacked four feet high, stood in the football offices in the OU Field House. Some were supportive. Some were not. Some were racist, claiming the OU program was doomed because it had dared begun using black athletes, namely Prentice Gautt.
Bud Wilkinson had a plan on how to deal with the letters. OU would answer every single one. Near the end of each work day, the four secretaries would grab a pack of letters, answer them, sign them and send them off. They answered them all the same: “Thanks for your interest in our football program. Best wishes, Bud Wilkinson.”
Anita figures it took almost two years to answer every letter.
“Bud was such a gentleman,” Anita said. “He was quite the man to work for.”
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