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Former OSU football coach Jim Stanley dies

JIM STANLEY — The man who led the Oklahoma State Cowboys to a share of the 1976 Big Eight Conference football title has died at age 77.
BY JENNI CARLSON, Staff Writer, Modified: January 12, 2012 at 4:39 pm •  Published: January 12, 2012

Jim Stanley had a favored pregame ritual for his Oklahoma State football teams.

Watching John Wayne movies.

The man on the screen mirrored the coach on the Cowboy sidelines. Tough as a nail. Stoic as a statue. Just as a frontier lawman.

“He was an intense man,” former Cowboy linebacker Daria Butler said of Stanley. “He was a man of very few words. But he was a good guy, one of the old-fashioned football coaches that really concentrated on the fundamentals of the game and fundamentals of how you conducted yourself.”

Stanley died early Thursday morning in the Phoenix area after a bout with lung cancer.

He was 77 years old.

Stanley coached the Cowboys from 1973-78 and led them to a share of the Big Eight title in 1976. That season included a 31-24 road victory over No. 5 Oklahoma, which came a year after the Sooners' back-to-back national titles.

Those were heydays for Barry Switzer and his Sooners.

Stanley, who went 35-31-2 during his tenure in Stillwater, wasn't always loved the same way.

“He wasn't popular back in the 70s,” said Russ Farthing, a walk-on who played for Stanley. “Barry Switzer was the man in the Big Eight, in the country. Barry was great on TV. And Coach Stanley was terrible on TV. Terrible.”

He chuckled.

“He was aloof. He looked mad. He was a one-liner guy. So, that's kind of how people remember him.”

Not his players.

They call him “Bubba,” the nickname he was forever giving everyone else. They remember a man who spoke in a low, slow voice, never hollering or yelling. But when he came around to the position drills during practice and saw something he didn't like, he wasn't above jumping in to demonstrate the proper technique.

Stanley, who was one of Bear Bryant's famed Junction Boys at Texas A&M, was never one to stand down from a challenge.

View/sign the guest book for Jim Stanley

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* Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder:

“The Oklahoma State family was saddened about the passing of former Oklahoma State coach Jim Stanley, who served as defensive coordinator from 1963 to 1968 and head coach from 1973 to 1978. We are grateful Coach Stanley had the opportunity at the recent Fiesta Bowl to visit with several players who played for him during his years as head coach of the Cowboys. Their visits over the years always lifted his spirits and spoke volumes about the amount of respect they held for their former coach. Coach Stanley led the Cowboys to their first appearance in the Fiesta Bowl in 1974 and a victory over BYU, 16-6. As a player for legendary coach Paul Bear Bryant, Coach Stanley preached toughness. His players worked hard for him, and he worked hard for them. He will be remembered with respect and admiration for his contributions to Oklahoma State football.”


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