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Oklahoma football: Rod Shoate's College Football Hall of Fame election a blessing for his family

The former OU linebacker died in 1999, but his family hopes this honor will help others recognize ‘all the good he did.”
by Jason Kersey Published: May 7, 2013

“People just accepted him as a good person. He didn't cause any problems or anything. That was very much needed at that time.”

From the 1968 season forward, Blankenship said there was never another problem between Spiro's black and white players.

Charlotte, Rod and Myron were the youngest — and closest — of their 10 siblings. All three attended OU together, with Charlotte cheerleading and Rod and Myron playing football.

Rod Shoate became a superstar OU linebacker, recording 420 career tackles, the third-highest total in school history. He was a second-round pick in the 1975 NFL Draft, played six seasons with the New England Patriots and finished his professional career in the USFL.

After his playing career ended, though, Shoate struggled with drug addiction and illness that ultimately ended with his death.

“I think he's one of the finest athletes we've ever had in Oklahoma,” said Blankenship, whose son is University of Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship.

“I think while he was going to college, I think he was clean and did a good job, and when he got out of college, he got into the pros, and I think he got to messing up with some dope and things.”

Conversations about Rod Shoate's life and legacy frequently shift to his tragic downfall, which continues to haunt his family.

His mother, Lulu Shoate, is 95 years old today and lives in Norman with Charlotte Gordon.

“Right now, she's not able to realize what great significance this had on his life,” Gordon said, fighting back tears. “I believe if she did, she would be overjoyed. I think she would need that to settle some things.

“He was a good guy. He was a good guy. We've all been wondering when (his Hall of Fame election) will come to fruition, and now it has, and we're all just so, so grateful.”

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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