MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

OU & OSU Sports

April 2, 2013

Former OU coach Fairbanks dies at 79

OKLAHOMA CITY – Chuck Fairbanks, who coached Heisman Trophy winner Steve Owens at Oklahoma and spent six seasons as the Sooners’ coach, died Tuesday in Arizona after battling brain cancer. He was 79.

Oklahoma said in a news release that Fairbanks died in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale.

“He was a special coach, he was a special friend,” said Owens, one of five Heisman winners for Oklahoma after rushing for 1,523 yards and 23 touchdowns in 1969. “As a player, he made me better on the field. He was a tough coach, but he was a fair coach.”

Fairbanks was 52-15-1 in six years with the Sooners, including an Orange Bowl victory his first season and consecutive Sugar Bowls wins in 1971-72 before leaving to take over the New England Patriots.

The Sooners went 10-1 and beat Tennessee in the Orange Bowl in Fairbanks’ first year in 1967. He won 11 games each of last two seasons with OU, beating Auburn and Penn State in the Sugar Bowl.

Fairbanks agreed with the suggestion of Barry Switzer, his offensive coordinator, to install the wishbone at OU after Texas used it to win a national championship in 1969. After becoming head coach, Switzer used the wishbone to win three national titles, matching the number Bud Wilkinson won from 1947 to 1963, a tenure that included a record 47-game winning streak.

“His squads won three Big Eight championships and helped lay the foundation for the program’s ongoing success with the installation of the wishbone-T offense,” current Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said in a statement. “I was fortunate to have many opportunities to get to know Chuck over the years.”

Fairbanks played for Michigan State’s 1952 national title team and was an assistant at Arizona State and Houston before joining the OU staff in 1966. Owens said he stayed in touch with Fairbanks because his former coach would often visit his daughter in Norman.

“Not just during football, but after football, we just loved him,” Owens said. “He was like a second father to me.”

Fairbanks worked in real estate and golf-course development after his coaching career. He occasionally worked as a consultant for NFL teams in training camp, including with the Dallas Cowboys when Bill Parcells was coach.

1
Text Only
OU & OSU Sports
AP Video
Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball
Poll

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

Yes
No
     View Results
Featured Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks