The Norman Transcript

Local news

April 3, 2013

Farewell to Fairbanks, former OU football coach

NORMAN — Oklahoma officials confirmed that former Sooner football coach Chuck Fairbanks, 79, died Tuesday morning after a battle with brain cancer.

“Coach fought a hard battle. He was a great coach and like a second father to me,” former OU running back and 1969 Heisman Trophy winner Steve Owens said Tuesday. “He taught me so much on the field, but he prepared me for life after football, which I always appreciated. He was tough on us but fair. I couldn’t have had a better coach.”

Fairbanks had a distinguished coaching career in both the college and professional ranks. His most successful stint was as head coach at OU from 1967-72.

During his six seasons, the Sooners won three Big Eight Conference titles (1967, 1968 and 1972) while compiling a 52-15-1 overall record and a 33-6 mark in the conference.

Fairbanks originally came to OU as a defensive assistant under head coach Jim Mackenzie prior to the 1965 season. Mackenzie died prior to the 1967 season and Fairbanks was elevated to head coach.

“From the moment he took the job, there was no question he was head coach. He was so organized and so professional. He took that team and made us Big Eight champions,” Owens said. “I think we were picked to finish fourth or fifth and we won the championship and had a chance to win the national championship that year. The thing about Coach was he was a hard coach. He pushed us hard, but he was so fair.”

Fairbanks’ lasting legacy at OU was the installation of the wishbone offense during the 1970 season under then-offensive coordinator Barry Switzer. The offense helped fuel the Sooners’ dominance throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

His last two teams at OU went a combined 22-2 and were some of the best in the program’s history. The Sooners only loss in 1971 was to top-ranked Nebraska in the “Game of the Century” at Owen Field. Both the 1971 and 1972 teams finished No. 2 in the final rankings.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • Injury accident reported

    Transcript Staff Emergency crews responded to an injury accident around 10:20 p.m. Sunday in the 1000 block of 80th Avenue Southeast where there were reports of someone pinned. Several reports indicated a vehicle struck a tree causing one ...

    July 28, 2014

  • Braddy_1. Norman North teen struck by freight train recovering with therapy

    A Norman North teen struck by a freight train in May is on the road to recovery and ready to get back to school after spending most of his summer in a hospital. Harrison Braddy, 16, has been staying busy with rehab and physical therapy ...

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Migrant kids go to Mass

    The services have all the elements of a typical Sunday Mass — singing, scripture, a sermon, prayers, communion and worship....

    July 27, 2014

  • Prisons expand reach to bring training to more officers

    McALESTER — Joshua Drake once was offered the chance to be a corrections officer but turned it down because he didn’t want to leave his wife and aging parents for six weeks to train hundreds of miles away in El Reno....

    July 27, 2014

  • Storm victims face loan dilemma

    The tornadoes, flooding and hail that struck Oklahoma last year left hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, causing many home and business owners to seek help in the form of low-interest federal loans....

    July 27, 2014

  • SWIMMER Aquatic center could serve many community needs

    Michael Yoch could have been the kid with asthma sitting on the sidelines — could have been, but wasn’t. Michael had trouble running because of his asthma, which made it difficult to play soccer and many other sports his friends loved. ...

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Director leaves decade of memories

    Maureen Dolan is giving up the post as director of St. Joseph’s Early Childhood Development Center, fondly called “St. Joe’s” by the many parents whose pre-school children have spent their weekdays under her care over the past 10 years....

    July 27, 2014

  • Teen critical after rescue

    A 17-year-old Yukon male was transported to the hospital Sunday after a near drowning incident at Lake Thunderbird in the Party Cove area. Emergency crews responded to the lake after a report of a possible drowning around 5:30 p.m. ...

    July 27, 2014

  • County wreck fatal

    A Purcell man was killed in a single-vehicle wreck Saturday morning on Highway 77, north of Moffatt Road in Cleveland County. Keith Hedrick, 20, was pinned for about an hour and 45 minutes before the Slaughterville Fire Department was ...

    July 27, 2014

  • New library leaders

    The Pioneer Library System has familiar faces taking over leadership roles with its two hometown libraries....

    July 27, 2014