Oklahoma Football, 1959–1985
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
In Wishbone, veteran journalist Wann Smith provides an in-depth account of Sooner football from the team’s final years under Wilkinson through its remarkable turnaround under Coach Barry Switzer. At the heart of this story is the phenomenal success of the Wishbone offense—a hybrid offshoot of the Split-t formation that Wilkinson employed so successfully in the 1950s. Though not without its risks, the Wishbone offense changed the face of college football and was a key factor in Oklahoma’s resurgence in the 1970s with Switzer at the helm.
Drawing on firsthand accounts from coaches, players, and university administrators, many never before published, Smith takes us behind the scenes during this exciting comeback period to reveal not just what happened but why and how it happened. And he brings to life the personalities who played pivotal roles in the team’s renewed success, including Jack Mildren, Greg Pruitt, Joe Washington, Billy Sims, and any, many others.
Sooner fans, indeed all fans of college football, will relish this account of the remaking of a football powerhouse and its return to glory.
“I’ve read and enjoyed every word of this book. It’s a must-read for all Sooner fans.”—Barry Switzer, Former head football coach, University of Oklahoma
"Carefully researched and thoroughly documented, Wishbone is an insider's look at the events that made Oklahoma football the institution it has become. As a dedicated Sooner fan, I highly recommend this book."—Steve Owens, Heisman Trophy Winner
“Wann Smith has done a marvelous job in procuring such candid and accurate comments from so many former athletes and coaches.”—Coach Merv Johnson, Director of Football Operations, University of Oklahoma
“A captivating, behind-the-scenes look at the winningest college football program in modern times”—Joe Castiglione, Athletic Director, University of Oklahoma
“Comprehensive, accurate, and full of fascinating stories, Wishbone offers new information that will be a revelation even to former players.” —Dean Blevins, sportscaster for KWTV, the CBS affiliate in Oklahoma City