Venables' sophomore season unlikely to reach Switzer, Stoops heights, but maybe Gary Gibbs?
You know who doesn’t get enough credit as a Sooner football coach?
Like, you’ve probably never heard of the guy, but a case can be made — kind of, sort of — he’s the one who started the whole thing, who set in motion the monster Barry Switzer always said Bud Wilkinson built and he had to feed.
Never heard of him, right?
Bennie Owen gets all the credit as Oklahoma’s first great coach and he was, going 122-54-16 from 1905 to ’26.
But Owen went just 21-21-6 his last six seasons and the three men who followed him — Adrian Lindsey, Lewis Hardage, Lawrence Jones — went a combined 39-37-6 from 1927 to ’36.
Then came Stidham, who in four seasons went 27-8, never had a losing season, winning a conference title and contending for a national championship along the way.
Of course, there have been dips over the decades, the most recent coming last season, but the upward trajectory Sooner football’s enjoyed the vast majority of the past 85 years began with him.
Others took it to new levels, but Stidham built the floor and, for that reason, he’s the starting point of today’s exercise, examining other Sooner coaches’ sophomore seasons as we wait for Brent Venables’ second-year effort to commence.
Mostly, it’s a story of success, which is just what Venables and the program needs in its final Big 12 Conference season before heading off the the SEC.
Beginning with Stidham, of the 11 skippers to coach a second Sooner season prior to Venables, though three suffered losing campaigns, six claimed conference crowns and two won national championships.
You can probably put names to some of those numbers, but let’s go through it anyway.
Hey, it’s Clay. Though you get a great deal of Oklahoma Columnist for free, the only way to get all of it, like this column, is to support this venture as a paid subscriber for the grand sum of $6/month or $60/year. Thanks for reading.