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Barry Switzer (born October 5, 1937) is a former football coach, in the college and professional ranks, between 1962 and 1997. He has one of the highest winning percentages of any college football coach in history, and is one of only two head coaches to win both a college football national championship and a Super Bowl (the other being his college teammate and rival head coach Jimmy Johnson.)

Early life and career

Born in Crossettmarker, Arkansasmarker, the son of a bootlegger, Switzer accepted an athletic scholarship and played football at the University of Arkansasmarker. After graduation, he did a brief stint in the U.S. Army and then returned to Arkansas as an assistant coach.

University of Oklahoma

Following the 1966 season, Switzer moved to the University of Oklahomamarker as an assistant coach under new Head Coach and good friend Jim Mackenzie. After Mackenzie died of a heart attack following spring practice of 1967, Switzer continued as an assistant under former University of Houstonmarker assistant and new Oklahoma Head Coach Chuck Fairbanks.

Switzer quickly made a name for himself by perfecting the Wishbone Offense and developing it into the most prolific rushing offense in college football history. Under Switzer's Wishbone, the Sooners set an NCAA rushing record of 472 yards per game in 1971 and scored over 500 points in two different seasons, 1971 and 1986.

When Fairbanks accepted the position of Head Coach of the New England Patriots following the 1972 season, Switzer was the obvious choice to succeed him.

Switzer became head coach at Oklahoma in 1973, leading the team to undefeated seasons that year and the next. Oklahoma won national championships in 1974, 1975 and 1985 under Switzer's leadership. The team won or shared in the Big 8 championship every year from 1973 to 1980. During his sixteen years as head coach at Oklahoma, his teams won eight of the thirteen post-season bowl games they played in, and 54 of his players were selected as All-Americans. In 1978 Billy Sims won the Heisman Trophy.

In 1989, Oklahoma was placed on probation by the NCAA amidst several scandals involving Oklahoma players, including Charles Thompson's arrest for soliciting cocaine to undercover FBI agents. In that same year, after sixteen years as Oklahoma's head coach, Switzer chose to resign.

His overall record of 157-29-4 gives him the fourth-best all-time winning percentage (.837). Switzer succeeded in getting the better of several famous contemporaries, including a 12-5 mark against Tom Osborne, 5-3 against Jimmy Johnson, 2-0 against Bobby Bowden and 1-0 against Joe Paterno and Woody Hayes. Along with Bennie Owen, Bud Wilkinson and Bob Stoops, he is one of four coaches to win over 100 games at the University of Oklahoma. No other college football program has more than 3 coaches to accomplish such a feat.

Switzer was known as an outstanding recruiter of high school talent, particularly in the neighboring state of Texas. This contributed to his outstanding 9-5-2 record against the University of Texas, including a 3-0-1 record against Darrel Royal in Royal's last few years, a 4-5-1 record against Fred Akers, and a 2-0 mark against David McWilliams.

Dallas Cowboys

Barry Switzer resurfaced in coaching in 1994 with the Dallas Cowboys. Switzer stepped in following the departure of Jimmy Johnson, who as head coach had won the previous two Super Bowls. Johnson had clashed with owner Jerry Jones (leading to his departure) and many felt that Switzer was more apt to go along with Jerry's ideas. Switzer was successful with the Cowboys, going 12–4 his first season in 1994 (losing to the 49ers in the NFC Championship). In Switzer's second season of 1995, the team went 12–4. Dallas won Super Bowl XXX over the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27–17, making Switzer one of only three coaches to win college and NFL championships (Paul Brown and Jimmy Johnson). Switzer resigned as Cowboys' coach after a 6–10 1997 season with a 45–26 career NFL coaching record.

Head coaching record


After coaching

Switzer was elected to the College Football Hall of Famemarker in 2002. In 2004, he received the Jim Thorpe Lifetime Achievement Award. Switzer still resides in Normanmarker, Oklahomamarker. In August 2007, XMSN added Barry Switzer as a part of the channel's expanded college sports coverage. On 2007-09-09, Barry Switzer joined the FOX NFL Pregame show. Switzer also guest-starred in an episode of TNT's Saving Grace titled "Do You Love Him?", which first aired August 11, 2008. As a color commentator, Barry Switzer is known for his insightful football knowledge stemming from his career as a head coach.


  1. "Switzer Is Honored To Be Inducted". The New York Times. August 10, 2002. Retrieved April 17, 2007
  2. "Barry Switzer". The Arkansas Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved April 17, 2007.
  3. [1]
  4. Oklahoma has paid the price for anything goes, Sports Illustrated, 27 February 1989, retrieved 19 January 2009.

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