Switzer: Vessels helped make job easy
Seems no celebration of Sooners past would be complete without Barry Switzer.
The former Oklahoma coach, of course, was on hand Thursday when the Billy Vessels statue was revealed in Cleveland, Okla. He had the crowd in Vessels’ hometown in the palm of his hand. Here’s a look at some of his remarks:
“I grew up in a little town like this. I would listen every Saturday afternoon to my car radio. Actually, it wasn’t my car. It was my dad’s car. Everything was stick shift back then. You only had to push it three feet to kick it off, so you didn’t have to worry about the battery running down.
“The radio in the house was all static during the day. You could pick up the Grand Ole Opry at night, but during the day, it was worthless. So I would sit out there on Saturday afternoon, and I would listen to college football. No air conditioning. You opened all four doors and sat in the car under the shade of an oak tree.
“The problem you had with college football at that time of the year in the early season was that the only day games played were the University of Tennessee Volunteers and the Oklahoma Sooners. Obviously, I listened to the Oklahoma Sooners.
“I listened to Billy Vessels play in 1952 when I was in high school. All of these guys that are here (Eddie Crowder and Claude Arnold among them) had their names mentioned … but Billy was the star.
“I got to know him later on in life after I came to Oklahoma. I really understood why Billy was Billy, how he exuded a personality, how he grabbed your hand and looked you in the face and gave you that great smile. And all that wavy, curly hair. I understood why they called him ‘Curly.’
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