Another Sooner Legend Passes Away…This One Is Personal

I was deeply saddened this afternoon when I learned that former OU Sooner football coach Chuck Fairbanks had passed away.

Unlike the recent passing of Steve Davis, Coach Fairbanks had a long full life that spanned 79 years, during which time he had coaching jobs in high school, at numerous universities, in the NFL, was credited with creating the 3-4 defense and had the wisdom to allow his OU offensive coordinator(Barry Switzer) to install the wishbone offense.

Before those years at OU and after, though, I knew Coach Fairbanks as the defensive backs coach at the University of Houston. Coach recruited my oldest brother to come to UH as a QB and on one of his recruiting visits he took our entire family to dinner at the best restaurant in our small East Texas town.

Coach loved recruiting because he genuinely liked people and he was very kind to us all, and made it a point to let this young 8th grade boy know that he would be watching me and might come back and recruit me in a few years. On the day my brother had to report to the athletic dorm before his freshman year, it was all very exciting being there, seeing these huge athletes from all over the country, including one cajun offensive guard that pulled up in a stretch limousine and walked into the lobby with a foot locker on each shoulder. Even with all that was happening and all the people coming and going, Coach Fairbanks spotted us and came and visited with us for quite a while, always politely excusing himself when he was needed and always returned to our table like he said he would.

For his family and friends, I extend my deepest condolences. As a young boy from a humble hard working family, my sense of Coach Fairbanks was that he was a genuinely good person that cared about people. Some that played for him said he was tough, but fair and I can believe that without reservation.


Sercan Ondem

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