Fairbanks compiled a record of 52-15-1 (.772) with the Sooners and his teams featured 1969 Heisman Trophy winner Steve Owens, Jack Mildren and freshman Joe Washington. When Fairbanks left to coach the Patriots, he was replaced by OU offensive coordinator Barry Switzer.
After coaching, Fairbanks entered real estate and golf course development businesses with ventures in California and Arizona.
Fairbanks has residences in Northern Michigan and also in Scottsdale, Ariz. He and wife, Puddy, have three sons (Chuck, Tyler and Toby) and two daughters (Gwenn and Malissa).