Howard Schnellenberger doesn't want to be a spokesman for pipe smokers.
He doesn't have to be.
As the new head football coach at the University of Oklahoma, Schnellenberger is one of the state's most visible people. And where Schnellenberger goes, so goes one of his pipes.
"The beauty of pipe smoking is that most people love the smell of it, and it's noninjurious," said the 61-year-old Schnellenberger, who has been a pipe smoker since he was a student at the University of Kentucky in the early 1950s. "In fact, on my insurance, I'm called a nonsmoker.
"I'm not going to be a spokesman for smoking a pipe. I'll neither recommend nor discourage someone. But nothing's more relaxing than to sit down with your pipe for a smoke. It's a great pacifier. " Schnellenberger's reputation as a pipe-smoker goes way back - when he left Kentucky as an assistant coach to join Paul "Bear" Bryant at the University of Alabama in 1961, his Wildcat players gave him a pipe as a parting gift.
Pipe smoking has fallen out of favor over time, and Schnellenberger knows why: "You can't smoke in anybody's house; you can't smoke in restaurants. " But Ron Steiner, Schnellenberger's personal assistant at the universities of Miami and Louisville who has followed him to OU, said Schnellenberger created a pipe boom in Kentucky when he returned to his home state.