“Absolutely,” Holder said. “Would not have happened without him. We couldn't get anyone at Arizona interested in playing us. I called Jim, he called the athletic director and voila, we have a home-and-home with Arizona.”
Click's devotion to OSU can be seen in his office. On the wall is a picture of his 1962 football recruiting class. On his desk is a game ball from the Cowboys' 17-16 victory over OU in 1965, which ended OSU's 19-game Bedlam losing streak.
“Great group of guys,” Click said. “Even the ones that quit were a great group of guys.”
Cliff Speegle was OSU's coach in 1962, Click's freshman year. “First day of practice was a scary experience,” Speegle said. “Probably had 100-plus players on scholarship” in that freshman class.
But Speegle was fired, replaced in 1963 by Cutchin, a Bear Bryant assistant at Kentucky, Texas A&M and Alabama. Cutchin was on the A&M staff in 1954, when Bryant took his team to the legendary August training camp in Junction, Texas.
A decade later, Cutchin didn't take his new OSU team away from Stillwater, but he ran an hellacious camp.
“When Phil Cutchin came in, I'll bet we had 150-175 players in the spring,” Click said. “The following fall, we almost couldn't field two teams. Everybody quit.”
The numbers were so scarce, Cutchin moved the entire team into one wing of the dorm.
“I got to play because of default,” Click said. “There were a hell of a lot better centers than me, I tell you. Spring of '63 was brutal. The guys that were left, we've got a bond that will never be broke.”
During the season, Cutchin issued a proclamation. Anyone not playing could challenge the man in front of them to a physical contest in practice. The winner got playing time.
Click was playing and was challenged. “Somehow, I won that challenge,” Click said. His challenger quit that night.
Don Brewington, an OSU teammate of Click, called him a “great guy. Very tough football player; 180 pounds at linebacker and center. About as tough as one can be.”
Said Holder of Click, “It's a great story. He's one of those survivors. He's prospered because of that experience.”
Click plans to bring all his former teammates out to Tucson in 2012 for OSU-Arizona III and put them up for a couple of days.
But first comes OSU-Arizona II, when Click returns to his alma mater, for the matchup he put together, a matchup that either way, he cannot lose.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.