The Norman Transcript

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February 1, 2013

You may not know Bear Jensen, but it’s time that you do



What he remembers most about that game was there being 25 Tigers and 75 Sandies, a number committed to memory because he counted them.

“They were the only high school in Amarillo at the time,” Jensen said.

He remembers his senior year well, mostly because so many players got hurt, including star running back Bill Remy, whose bloodline would eventually fill Norman pitches with some of the nation’s best female soccer talent.

“He was a fine football player,” Jensen said.

A star on the grid and the diamond, Jensen was part of NHS’ state-champion 1945 basketball team, too. Though, he’s not too proud to admit, he came off the bench on the hardwood.

He went to Oklahoma to play football for Dewey “Snorter” Luster, because, apparently, every football coach back then had a nickname.

He was an All-Big Six pick as a freshman (and you can look it up in the Sooner football media guide), but chose to exit for East Central, in Ada, when Luster departed following the 1945 season to make way for Jim Tatum.

The story there revolved around Frank Crider, who had an NHS stop on his resumé, but had become a veteran assistant at OU under Luster. Crider decided to take the head coaching job at ECU when Tatum replaced Luster and Jensen decided it would be a good idea to join him.

After starring at ECU, Jensen stayed as an assistant coach before taking the football reins at Davis High School. His 1951 team tied the state title game with Thomas, but lost on “penetrations,” a penetration being entry inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, the Red Zone before it had a name.

He spent two seasons at Pauls Valley before taking over Claremore’s football program, where he won only two games his first season, 1954, before going on to post a 74-25-4 mark over 10 seasons.

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