Fairbanks left OU following the 1972 season to become head coach of the New England Patriots. He spent six seasons there before he returned to the college ranks at Colorado, where he coached from 1979-81.
Fairbanks’ final year in coaching was in the USFL as head coach of the New Jersey Generals for one season.
“Chuck possessed an exceptional eye for talent, recruiting talented players like Heisman winner Steve Owens and enabling innovative assistant coaches like Barry Switzer to thrive,” OU coach Bob Stoops said Tuesday.
“I was fortunate to have many opportunities to get to know Chuck over the years. He often visited his daughter (Gwen Hare) in Norman around Thanksgiving, and I enjoyed our conversations when he attended practice. We offer our prayers and condolences to Chuck’s family and the many individuals he touched during his time at the University of Oklahoma.”
Fairbanks spent the last 30 years of his life in private business in Arizona, building a successful real estate business. He also worked as a training camp consultant for several NFL teams in his later years.
“I was fortunate, because I was able to spend quite a bit of time with him, and I was able to express that he was loved and appreciated by so many of the players who played for him,” Owens said. “He became like a second father to me. Any time I needed council or advice, I would just call him. He always gave good advice.
“He loved all of his players here. I talked to him when he was so sick. He enjoyed talking about his experiences here at OU. It was a big part of his life and it was special to him.”