Oklahoma football loses great coach, great man
Rick Gandy was hardly a household name throughout Oklahoma.
Head down to the southern part of the state, venture into small towns where the Friday night lights blaze like prairie fires, and Gandy was a legend. He grew up in tiny Ringling, then stayed in tiny Ringling where he built a football giant. The small-class football team won two state titles and 242 games under Gandy’s leadership. In 28 seasons, the Blue Devils missed the playoffs just twice.
Along the way, he molded the lives of generation after generation in Ringling.
His lessons were never more poignant than these past few years. Three years ago this February, Gandy was thrown from a horse while riding on the family farm. The fall left him paralyzed and wheelchair-bound.
It didn’t keep him from coaching football or from molding lives.
Rick Gandy died Monday afternoon. The 59-year-old had a long battle with pneumonia and complications from his paralysis.
I had the good fortune of meeting Gandy a few years ago after his accident. His body was broken, but his spirit was not. He still talked to his players. He still met with his coaches. He even talked of the day when he would walk again, leading his team into the field for a game.
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