lured Heupel, Nate Hybl and Jason White all in that first recruiting class. The days were over of a Sooner void at football’s most important position. That quarterback class allowed the Sooners to sign other passers of repute.
I asked Brent Clark, an OU football historian and author, about the one-year impact coaches.
Clark basically concurred but went into detail about Leach.
"Leach’s short association with the University of Oklahoma unwittingly established a legacy, if for no other reason than bringing in Josh Heupel,” Clark said.
Heupel is no small figure in Sooner lore himself. Not just as a player, but now as the quarterback coach for young Sam Bradford, who might trump even his mentor with a Heisman Trophy.
Heupel ranks with Jack Mildren as the most important players in OU history. Stoops would have been successful without Leach and Heupel, but perhaps not as successful and most definitely not as quickly.
Leach was the one and only reason Heupel came to OU. The left-handed juco quarterback with a quick mind and a keen eye, if not a rocket arm, wanted to go where passing was valued. Leach spotted the intangibles that are easy to miss.
Coaches who just pass through rarely leave such a wake. Mack Brown was at OU for a year, in 1984, and is remembered fondly. Howard Schnellenberger was at OU for a year, in 1995, and is cursed. Their imprints were negligible.
But some coaches can have such a profound impact, they never are forgotten. Jim Tatum and Jim Mackenzie are on that list in Norman. They are joined by Mike Leach.
405-760-8080. Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.
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