, Muskogee, OK

Local News

November 27, 2007

Former football star dies

First OU three-time All-American remembered as caring big brother

Paul “Buddy” Burris was remembered Monday as a big brother who cared about his family and as “a good team man” on the University of Oklahoma football team.

Burris, the first three-time All-American in Sooners’ history, died Monday after an illness. Born in Nowata and raised in Muskogee, Burris was 84.

Lyle Burris, the youngest of the six Burris football-playing brothers, recalled his brother for having “a good heart.”

“He took care of his brothers and sisters,” said Lyle, 70. “He was always concerned about his family and his siblings. He made sure they were doing OK.

“Buddy was a big influence on us, that’s for sure. He led the way. As the saying goes, he blazed the trail. He did quite a bit. All of us are proud of him. He’d been ill for quite a while. The last time I saw him he was still in good spirits and talking about football, particularly OU. I’m sorry to see him go.”

Buddy Burris, along with his brothers Kurt and Robert, was among members of the second class inducted into the Muskogee Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.

Paul helped build Indian Bowl before his sophomore season in 1939 and played in the first game Sept. 21 when then-Muskogee Central beat Tulsa Webster, 12-0.

After serving in the Army in Europe and Japan during World War II, Buddy Burris returned to Muskogee and was recruited to play for the Sooners.

He was a guard and tackle for coach Bud Wilkinson and chosen as an All-American in 1946-48, becoming the first of two OU players to receive the honor three times. Linebacker Rod Shoate (1972-74) is the other.

Darrell Royal, the former University of Texas football coach, played with Burris and was a classmate of his at OU’s business school. He has fond memories of Burris.

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