When Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer was recruiting Enid running back Lydell Carr, Switzer asked Plainsmen coach Ron Lancaster if Carr was tough enough to play fullback as a freshman.
“I don't know if any freshman is ready to play fullback in the wishbone,” Lancaster told him. “But tough isn't going to be an issue.”
After Carr ran for 137 yards in a 42-10 Sooner win at Pittsburgh in the second game of the 1984 season, Switzer called Lancaster before he was out of the locker room.
“He's the toughest guy we've got,” Lancaster recalls Switzer saying.
Before Carr ran for nearly 3,000 yards in his four years with the Sooners, though, he was a legend at Enid High.
He was named The Oklahoman's Back of the Year in 1983.
In observance of the 100th edition of The Oklahoman All-State football team, which will be announced in late December, the newspaper launches a project this Sunday. We're recognizing the previous 99 teams and catching up with some of the most notable All-Staters.
Lydell Carr is certainly one of them.
Lancaster said Carr's legend was helped because Enid took down power Tulsa Washington in a televised game to win the Class 5A state title in 1983.
“I believe Tulsa was ranked No. 3 in the country,” Carr said. “No one gave us a chance to even come out with a win. The biggest guy on my offensive line was 205 and the other guys were 175, 180 and going against 260-, 270-pounders.
“I told them, ‘All you've got to do is just slow them down a little and just get in their way.”
Carr ran for 164 yards and two touchdowns as the Plainsmen beat the Hornets 14-0 at Tulsa Union.
Carr ran for 2,077 yards as a senior as Enid won its first title since 1966.
“Everybody kept telling me I'd get 2,000 yards this year, but that's a lot of yardage and I didn't think I could accomplish that,” Carr said after that season.
Today, Carr is in the car business, working at Chuck Fairbanks Chevrolet in the Dallas area, a dealership owned by the son of the former Sooners coach of the same name.
Carr has been in the business since 1994 but joined Fairbanks' company three months ago.
“Chuck called and said all the alumni kept asking how come I don't have you,” Carr said. “I love Chuck to death. It's been great working with him.
“My prayers are with his dad right now.”
The elder Fairbanks is battling brain cancer.
Carr returned to Enid last season and spoke to this year's Plainsmen.
“It was a good feeling to get invited back home and to visit with those young guys,” Carr said.
Carr has three children, son Christopher and daughters Kaitlyn and Jaclyn.
Kaitlyn, 15 and a volleyball player, recently told her dad her top college choices. OU was among the three schools she named.
“We'll put OU on the forefront now,” Carr said. “I've got to get her up there for a volleyball camp.”
Carr recently had an opportunity to move to the Oklahoma City area but doesn't want to disrupt his children's schooling.
“I love the Dallas area but I'd definitely go back to Oklahoma if the circumstances are right,” Carr said. “That's home and in the end, you always want to go back home.”
100 years of Oklahoman All-State football teams
Over the next five weeks, The Oklahoman will look back on the previous 99 years of Oklahoman All-State football teams, leading up to the unveiling of the 100th All-State team on Dec. 23. Each Sunday and Wednesday until then, we'll take a look back at a team from each decade. Today, we start with the threes — 1913, 1923, 1933, etc. On Wednesday, we'll look back at the fours. The idea for the project came from the publishing of a book by Clinton native Cecil Eugene Reinke compiling the 1913-2000 teams.