Skip to comments.Oklahoma to honor its first black football player
Posted on 08/20/2006 12:09:49 PM PDT by OKSooner
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ University of Oklahoma officials say OU will not issue jersey number 38 this football season as part of the university's plans to honor the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Sooners' first black player, Prentice Gautt.
Members of Oklahoma's team will wear decals with the number 38 on the back of their helmets this season to commemorate Gautt, who died in March 2005 at age 67.
Fullback J.D. Runnels wore number 38 last season for the Sooners, when he was a senior.
OU President David Boren says the decision to honor Gautt was made to remind people of Gautt's influence, moral courage and strength of character.
Gautt attended Douglass High School in Oklahoma City and played in the first integrated high school football game in Oklahoma.
He first played for the Sooners in 1956, the season in which Oklahoma won the third of its seven national championships.
Gautt later played for seven seasons in the NFL and became an assistant commissioner of the Big Eight Conference.
The second one would be a defensive back (I forget his name) who played in the Switzer era who died saving a little kid from drowning.
I think that's a very nice gesture.
You are correct that Oklahoma has NEVER retired a football number. I think this speaks volumes about our football program and the University of Oklahoma. I was at the game where he received the standing ovation when he was honored -- it was awesome!
Remember the story when OU Sooners were coming back from Tulsa after a game and the players were really hungry. They stopped at this restaurant to get something to eat and the people at the restaurant told Prentiss that he would have to eat in the kitchen. Team learned about that and they all got up and walked out because one of their players was not going to be allowed to eat with them. That spoke volumes to me about that team!
Tulsa has always felt to me to be part of some other state.
Prentice Gautt ran the stuffings out of Maryland in the 1956 Orange Bowl, which the Sooners won 20 - 6. The OU team used a no-huddle offense. On a number of plays they just pitched the ball out to Gautt who made two long runs for touchdowns (and the National Championship).
Part of Bud Wilkinson's heritage.
Douglass vs Capitol Hill.
Prentice Gautt vs Dick Soergel.
IIRC, Capitol Hill won by the score of 14-13...
In the long run, though, not only was it the right thing to do for Bud Wilkinson and the University, it opened the door for so many great athletes and did so much for our tradition of excellence at OU.
Eddie Hinton, Raymond Hamilton, Granville Liggins, (a Tulsa boy), Greg Pruitt, George Cumby and the Selmon Brothers all followed in Mr. Gautt's footsteps.
As a kid and a teenager watching the civil rights issues of the day, I believe this had an effect on me, starting with Prentice Gautt.
"OKSooner, tell uncle Jack who your favorite football player is..."
Cool. He's a freshman, right? ;)
If you want on
or off this list
Kan tell U ain't no kollege gradjewate......