GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jim Stanley brought the 1974 Oklahoma State Cowboys to the desert. They beat Brigham Young 16-6 in the Fiesta Bowl.
Some of those Pokes returned to Greater Phoenix in the past few days. They came for an even more triumphant OSU football experience, the Fiesta Bowl against Stanford on Monday night.
They also came to see their coach.
Stanley, who coached OSU from 1973-78 and to a 1976 Big Eight tri-championship, is fighting lung cancer. He's retired from the Arizona Cardinals, for whom he coached, scouted and worked in pro player personnel from 1995-07.
Stanley was in a Phoenix-area hospital Sunday when a dozen or so of his former players came by for a visit.
“He's in real good spirits,” said Scott Burk, a quarterback who played at OSU from 1974-78. “He lighted up big-time.”
Russ Farthing, a non-scholarship player who arrived at OSU in 1975, said Stanley's “spirits perked up when we came in the room. He loves his boys, I can tell you.”
Also among the Cowboys who visited were Derrel Gofourth, Reggie Pierson, Alvin Brown, Leonard Thompson, Jerry Cramer, Robert Turner, Frank Johnson and Kent Gravely.
“Kind of a neat reunion,” Farthing said. “All huddled around him, grabbed his hands, grabbed his shoulder. Loved on him.”
Then-assistant coach Deek Pollard also came with the group. Current OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young was on Stanley's staff back in the ‘70s. OSU was practicing while the players visited Stanley, so Young didn't join them. But Young did send along a football signed by the current Cowboys, who won the first outright conference title in OSU football history.