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What they're saying about Chuck Fairbanks

by Berry Tramel Published: April 2, 2013

Steve Owens, 1969 Heisman Trophy winner: “Lost a great coach, but a great friend. Boy, he was special to me. He was like my second father. Taught me so much. He was tough on us, but he was fair. He demanded we performed at practice. He had a tough nature about him. We knew he cared about us. That was the important thing. If he told me to run through a brick wall, I was scared not to. I'd have to put up with his wrath. Special guy.”

Bill Belichick, New England Patriots coach, in 2012: “Chuck has been a good friend for a long time and he's meant a lot to this organization. At the time he came here, he did a great job in turning the Patriots around, making them into one of the top teams in the AFC. Also, some of the things he brought to the Patriots and the league in the '70s were things that stood the test of time and have been a big principle of this league for many, many years and the disciples and the people that were with him, such as the 3-4 defense, the way he organized the draft, personnel meetings, things like that and some of the great coaches that were here under Chuck.”

Eddie Foster, OU offensive tackle 1971-73: “Chuck, boy, he was one of the toughest coaches I was ever around. Both mentally and physically. He just had this aura about him. It very plainly said, ‘OK guys, let's do this my way or let's not do it at all.' On my recruiting visit, I knew, this will be a challenge, playing for this guy. But somehow, there's some kind of attraction there.”

Dewey Selmon, OU defensive lineman, 1972-75: “I remember two people. They both were great. I remember a coach who was hard-nosed and had a drive to win football games. And I also was around a person who had a lot of compassion and love for his players. And he showed that to me in several ways. When he sat at a table with myself, Lucious and Lee Roy, he remembered everything about each one of us. I really connected with Coach Fairbanks. He really loved Oklahoma football and the players that played for him.”

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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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