Share “Mildren dies of cancer at 58”

By Berry Tramel Modified: May 23, 2008 at 11:35 am •  Published: May 23, 2008
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Jack Mildren, who quarterbacked the Oklahoma Sooners to great glory and then became the state's lieutenant governor, died Thursday night after a bout with cancer. He was 58.

Mildren was diagnosed two years ago with cancer but had continued to serve as a vice chairman for Arvest Bank and host a daily sports radio show on WKY 930-AM.

Mildren was elected lieutenant governor in 1990 and ran for governor in 1994 as the Democratic Party nominee. He lost that election to Republican Frank Keating.

Mildren was considered by many the greatest quarterback in OU history. He arrived in 1968 out of Cooper High School in Abilene, Texas, as one of the most ballyhooed Sooner recruits ever.

As a sophomore, Mildren set passing records. As a junior in 1970, when the Sooners got off to a struggling start, coach Chuck Fairbanks switched to the wishbone offense in mid-season, and history was made.

Mildren was a natural for the option offense and made All-American in 1971, when OU set NCAA rushing records and ignited a nearly 20-year dynasty.

"Great football player,” said Mildren's 1971 center, Tom Brahaney. "Great leader in the huddle. One of the great college quarterbacks of all time.”

Brahaney first crossed paths with Mildren in high school; Brahaney played at Midland High School in Texas.

"Very charismatic guy,” Brahaney said. "Real leader.”

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