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Fans line up to meet 5 QBS who led Sooners to national titles

by Berry Tramel Modified: June 8, 2009 at 12:08 pm •  Published: June 8, 2009

photo - From left, Steve Davis, Jimmy Harris and Claude  Arnold were three of the former OU quarterbacks at Sunday’s book signing. Photo provided by Greg Jackson
From left, Steve Davis, Jimmy Harris and Claude Arnold were three of the former OU quarterbacks at Sunday’s book signing. Photo provided by Greg Jackson
NORMAN — The joke is old. Goes back 30 something years. But it never gets old to Jimmy Harris.

Harris loves to sit next to Steve Davis and hear him ask, what game do you remember most?

"That’s a setup for Harris,” Davis said Sunday, just after he was asked, once again, about the game he can’t forget. 1975 Kansas. "I lost a game, and he’s never let me forget it.”

Harris never did lose, not as a Sooner quarterback. But Sunday, despite the ribbing at the Sooner Schooner store, the chief theme was not defeat. It was ultimate victory.

All five starting quarterbacks of OU’s seven national championship teams — Claude Arnold, Harris, Davis, Jamelle Holieway and Josh Heupel — signed memorabilia for hundreds of fans of all generations.

Sadly, scheduling prevented all five from being together for the first time ever. Harris left after almost three hours of signing to fly home to Shreveport, La. Heupel appeared about 30 minutes later, after completion of his football camp on campus.

But the day was special to the hundreds who stood in line for more than an hour each to meet their heroes.

Heck, the day was special to the hundreds of thousands who care about the Sooners.

This day was a monument to OU football history.

Arnold, who served in World War II before coming to OU and quarterbacking the 1950 Sooners to the championship, and Harris, 25-0 as a starter and the 1955 and 1956 champion QB, represented the Bud Wilkinson era.

Davis, 32-1-1 as a starter and the 1974 and 1975 champ quarterback, and Holieway, the freshman phenom of 1985, represented the Barry Switzer era.

Plus Heupel, general of Bob Stoops’ 2000 renaissance team and now his quarterback coach.

Fans came from as far away as Blackwell and Elk City. Crazy Calvin Jones heard Saturday night of the event and decided to drive down Sunday from Valentine, Neb.

Fans brought helmets and posters and footballs. They brought pennants and banners and books, including The Die-Hard Fan’s Guide to Sooner Football by Jim Fletcher, who put together the signing.

Davis signed the 1975 Sports Illustrated football preview magazine, whose cover he adorned.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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