Collected Wisdom: Charley North, Oklahoma Coaches Hall of Fame member

Charley North is best known for his work on Barry Switzer's staff at Oklahoma but also coached at Arkansas, Alabama, Texas A&M and TCU. His college years were bookended by years of work on Oklahoma high school fields.
INTERVIEWED BY SCOTT WRIGHT Published: August 3, 2013
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It seemed it was only a matter of time before Charley North went into the Oklahoma Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

It finally came to be, with his induction last Sunday.

The coach who is best known for his work on Barry Switzer's staff at Oklahoma has also coached at Arkansas, Alabama, Texas A&M and TCU on the college level. But his college years were bookended by years of work on Oklahoma high school fields, from his alma mater, Wagoner, to McAlester, Tecumseh, Dibble and lastly as a volunteer assistant at Norman High, where he got the chance to coach his grandson.

Officially retired after more than four decades of coaching, North is making sure that he gets to enjoy all the time he can with his family now.

I'm trying to catch up on family time now. I don't know that you can ever catch up, but one good thing about the coaches I've worked for, especially Dennis Franchione, if I wanted to take my family with me to bowl games, they could go. They got to travel a lot, even my daughter and my son-in-law. But I missed a lot of family time, and in coaching, you're gonna do that. It's not an 8-to-5 job. It ends up being a 16-hour-a-day deal, and you have to make sure you don't short your family or take anything away from them.

I have a great wife, and that's been really important. We've been married 49 years. Sharon has been super in supporting me and raising my daughter, Charla. She and my wife are almost like sisters, not mother-daughter. I have a great family, and that's what it's all about.

I played for two men who were very influential in my life, Don Rieberer, who was my head coach at Wagoner High School, and Joe Etheridge was the assistant with Don. One of the reasons I wanted to coach was because I patterned myself after them. At that time in my life, they were the mentors in my life and I knew I wanted to coach because of them. They're both 81 and they were both at my Hall of Fame induction. Having them there, and my family and a lot of people I coached and coached with, it meant everything in the world to me.

I was at OU for 16 years with Switzer and Gary Gibbs. When I came there in 1978, they had already achieved a lot of success under coach Switzer. Through my time there, I went through the good, the bad and the ugly.