NORMAN — Norman resident Edgar L. Frost’s new book, “Port Robertson: Behind the Scenes of Sooner Sports,” offers a new perspective about one of the three coaches most directly responsible for elevating the University of Oklahoma’s football program to national prominence.
The first-time author’s original research with oral histories may elevate former OU wrestling coach Port Robertson’s efforts to the exalted status Bud Wilkinson and Gomer Jones achieved since coaching OU’s 74-game conference football unbeaten streak.
Although not explicitly revisionism, Frost’s unique investigation provides fans and historians a touchstone if that process is undertaken — by making sure their stories outlive the eyewitnesses to history for the first time.
Frost’s chronicling of Robertson’s three national championship wrestling teams and early modern era OU football coaching also sets a new standard for historians with his writing style.
The Oklahoma Heritage Association published this first footnoted historical work written about Robertson depicting his nearly 40-year role in OU athletics as part of its Oklahoma Trackmaker Series in April.
While the project started with four of Robertson’s former wrestlers asking the writer to pen this hardcover, 208-page richly illustrated work, many more former OU athletes came forward to share their memories and photos once Frost began his research.
The book authoritatively recounts their long-held belief that Robertson deserved more credit as the academic linchpin of the athletic department. In the memories of these former athletes, Roberson was the person most responsible for shaping them into men.
Rather than glorifying him, the author brings Robertson to life by relating the complexity of the many student-athletes interactions wherein he served as a role model. The narrative skillfully blends the many instances of Robertson’s daily academic contact with athletes and those times when he was forced to take action as the legendary disciplinarian of that era.