by Berry Tramel Modified: May 23, 2008 at 12:47 am •  Published: May 23, 2008
When Jack Mildren came out of the huddle, ready to terrorize defenses like they've never been terrorized before or since, he was a load. Even before the ball was snapped.

"He was all business,” said Joe Wylie, Mildren's old Oklahoma halfback in that magical season of 1971, when the Sooner wishbone staked its claim on college football history. "Jack was such a challenge to keep up with.”

Many a Texan has crossed the Red River to become a Sooner. Many have stayed. No one stayed like Jack Mildren, who died Thursday at the age of 58.

Mildren was all business when he crossed that river. He was all business to the very end, even did his radio show as late as this Tuesday, despite fighting cancer that was eating away at his body.

"Great leader,” said Vic Kearney, a fellow 1971 Sooner senior. "One of the toughest-minded guys I ever met. He walked the walk.”

Mildren lived up to high school hype so stout that his recruiting warranted a Sports Illustrated feature. He was not just the best quarterback in OU history (sorry Jason White), but its most important (sorry Josh Heupel).

Mildren's instant mastery of the ‘bone ignited the Barry Switzer glory years of the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Mildren played pro football for the Colts and Patriots. He became an oil man and lieutenant governor; a banker and a sports radio star.

"Jack had a confidence level about him,” said Kearney. "He took education seriously and did a lot with it.”

Said Wylie, "If you were in the army, he would be the general. Guest book: Jack Mildren

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...
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