George Brewer died Monday at the age of 85. Brewer was a halfback on Bud Wilkinson’s great OU teams of the late 1940s.
We put together a quick story for the Tuesday Oklahoman, but we were super busy down in Dallas with Big 12 Media Days. I regretted that we didn’t have more time to do a better story about Brewer, who had been one of the few players remaining from the ’40s-era Sooners.
Then I received an email from Kyle McCord, Brewer’s grandson. McCord and Curtis Fitzpatrick of the Sports Animal and Fox-25 are good friends, and I asked Curtis to have Kyle email some information about his grandfather. Kyle did more than that. I don’t know if he meant to, but he wrote a great tribute to George Brewer.
It was so good, I thought I would share it with you:
“My grandpa, George W. Brewer, Jr., was the patriarch of my family for many years and is literally why I grew up in Oklahoma and have been a Sooner fan since birth. My first memories are going to Norman as a 5-year-old with him and watching the ’85 Sooners. I haven’t missed many home games since and he even gifted me his seats as a wedding present eight years ago.
“George has deteriorated in health these past few years, suffering from early dementia and Parkinson’s. His passing, while sad, is truly a blessing.
“George was the middle of three brothers. Robert (two years older) was the best athlete of all and after one semester at Texas Tech, went to serve in World War II. He was shot down and was missing in action for four years until eventually his body was recovered.
“His younger brother, Charlie, was the Texas player of the year in 1951 and went on to start at QB for Texas (’54-’57). Charlie’s son, Robert, played QB for Texas in ’81-’82, upsetting Bear Bryant in the Cotton Bowl. Robert’s son, Michael, was a four-time state champion at Lake Travis in Austin, and just left Texas Tech as QB and is competing at Virginia Tech this fall. (I was the disappointment you could say, but I did start in the same backfield as Wes Welker for two years at Heritage Hall and threw him his first few TDs, haha).
“George Brewer graduated from Lubbock High (The Westerners) in spring 1945 (Texas high schools only went to grade 11 at the time). Enrolled at Texas Tech (to follow in his brother’s footsteps) in fall 1945 and ran track that following spring, winning the 100-yard dash in the Border Conference with a time of 9.7 seconds. He wanted to go to Notre Dame, but his Southern Baptist mother wouldn’t let him.
“Caught the eye of Eddie Chiles, a Sooner booster from Texas. He flew him into OKC and was picked up by Bud Wilkinson. Not knowing who Bud was, he asked ‘what position do you play?’ only to be embarrassed upon finding out the answer. (He loved telling that story).
“George got to campus and participated in a team practice. He ran for two touchdowns and passed for another. The Daily Oklahoman had an article the next day titled ‘Texas Gridder Catches Fire at OU Drill.’ He was one of (if not the first) OU running back recruited by Bud from the state of Texas.
“He was 16 that fall and played with all the returning vets from World War II (Darrell Royal, Buddy Burris, Jack Mitchell, Dee Andros, Jim Owens, Wade Walker, etc….). Royal took him under his wing and remained one of his best friends until his death a few years ago.
“George’s first game was against Army at Yankee stadium in 1946. It was the first time an Oklahoma team had traveled to an away game by airplane. They flew two DC3′s and had to stop in Pittsburgh to refuel. The team saw the play ‘Oklahoma’ on Broadway after the game and were introduced on stage.
“Started in 1947 and was a part of the first pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game in OU history. He had 135 yards on 22 carries along with Buddy Jones’ 115 yards on 19 carries again K-State. OU went 7-2-1 with a controversial loss to Texas.
“1948, broke his leg in a scrimmage after getting hit by a teammate. Due to X-ray technology, he didn’t know it was broken for a week. He played against Santa Clara and scored the first touchdown, but couldn’t play much after that. He played as a backup to Junior Thomas in the ’49 season.
“Between 1948 and 1949, OU was 21-1 which springboarded Bud’s first 31-game win streak.
“Drafted by Detroit Lions in 1950 but went to work for his dad back in Lubbock.
“Entered the Air Force and served as the Air Provost Marshall in Chun Chon Korea during the Korean War.
“Worked for Conoco Oil and Lion Oil in Liberal, Kan., between 1953-1969. Returned to OKC in 1969 and worked in real estate and uranium exploration.
“He as served on the Oklahoma chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. He is also a lifetime member of the Varsity O-Club and served on the Board of OU Ex-Lettermen.
“He would have been 86 on Aug. 14 and was proud to have been the ‘voice’ these past 20 years for the original ‘Bud’s Gang.’
“Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Barbara. Daughters Pam Jaax (husband, Mike) of Kansas City, Debbie McCord (husband, Ron) of OKC, and Becky Brewer of OKC. He had seven grandkids whom he proudly bragged about all graduating from seven different universities. (I am the third, and only OU grad). He also leaves behind five great-grandchildren.
“Services are set for 2 p.m. Friday at All Souls Episcopal church in northwest Oklahoma City.”