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Pat Jones 'roughed it' during successful tenure at OSU

The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame inductee was in the office early and stayed late. That's just a part of what it took to make the Cowboys post three 10-win seasons under Jones.
by Berry Tramel Modified: August 5, 2012 at 6:38 pm •  Published: August 5, 2012

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: "OSU coach Pat Jones leads the linemen onto the field for pre-game drill" as the Oklahoma State University Cowboys hosted the Tulsa Hurricane. OSU prevailed, 24-19. Staff photo by Doug Hoke taken 9/26/92; photo ran in the 9/27/92 Daily Oklahoman.

Which is why Jones wants everyone to know that Boone Pickens wasn't the first booster to care about OSU football. Maybe he was the first booster with the means to make a huge difference, but there was passion for the Cowboys even in lean times.

“There has always been a core of people out there that have fought their (butt) off for that program,” Jones said. “Some of it legal, some of it not legal. Some of that has probably gotten lost in the shuffle, because Mr. Pickens was able to give them $165 million.”

All these years later, Jones still recalls some of the boosters who made a difference. Warren Pixley of Claremore drove over with wood from his lumber company to build new lockers. Bill Ricketts of Muskogee sent his construction workers to Stillwater to finish the second floor of OSU's football building, after the Cowboys ran out of money during the Phil Cutchen days.

“There have been guys that have fought hard,” Jones said. “Fought that baby hard. There's always been a core of people that wanted Oklahoma State to win.”

The Pickens Plan is easier. But it's no more satisfying.

“Maybe the most satisfying feeling I ever had,” Jones said, “including the NFL and all that other stuff, was probably after we had beaten South Carolina down there in the Gator Bowl that year (1984).

“We were the first (OSU team) to win 10. Then we did it again in '87 and '88, Oklahoma State had gone 83 years without having a double-digit win (season). We did pull it off three times in five years.”

Homemade and hard work.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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