Billy Sims (born September 18, 1955 in
Missouri) is a former college
football and NFL
He won the
and the Davey O'Brien Memorial
up in St.
Louis, but in the eighth grade he moved to Hooks, Texas, to live with his grandmother.
years of varsity football at Hooks
, he rushed 1,128 times (a state record at the time,
currently second behind Robert Strait
for 7,738 yards, including 441 carries in 1973 (another state
record at the time, currently tied for second behind Ketric Sanford
). He continues to hold the
state record for most consecutive games with 100 yards or more, 38
University of Oklahoma
1975, he was recruited to the University of
Oklahoma by Barry
After injuries kept him out of the line-up for
most of his freshman and half of his sophomore seasons (rushing for
only 545 yards in two seasons plus one game of 1976), in his junior
season he cut loose, picking up 1,762 yards on 231 carries for an
amazing average of 7.6 yards per carry (160.1 yards and 10.9 points
per-game) for the regular season. Including the post-season Sims
had 1,896 yards, a total yardage school record that stood until
2004 when freshman Adrian
tallied up 1,925. In 1978 Sims was awarded the
, becoming only the
sixth junior to do so. He was runner up the following season in
1979. He led the nation in rushing with 1,896 yards and had 22
touchdowns. He also became the first running back in Big 8 Conference
(now merged to form
the Big 12 Conference
) history to
rush for 200-yards in three consecutive games, and had four
200-yard games in a single season.
losing to the University of Arkansas 31-6 in 1978, Sims led the Sooners to two
consecutive Orange Bowl titles in
three straight appearances.
In the Orange Bowl following the
1978 season, he scored two touchdowns in a 31-24 win over the
University of Nebraska
1979 against then-unbeaten Nebraska, who had the No. 1 rushing
defense in the country at the time, Sims ran for 247 yards and
helped the Sooners to a 17-14 win. In his final game as a Sooner, he helped
defeat Florida State
University, 24-7, rushing for 164 yards.
He ended his
career at OU with 3,813 yards; most of those yards came in his
final two seasons.
Sims was the first overall pick in the 1980 NFL Draft
. He spent five years with the Detroit Lions
, making the Pro Bowl in 1980,
1981, and 1982. Sims led the Lions to the playoffs in 1982 and 1983
but they lost in the first round both times. Sims finished his
career with 1131 carries for 5106 yards (4.5 yards per carry), and
186 receptions for 2072 yards (11.1 yards per catch). His career
ended midway through the 1984 season when he suffered a knee injury
in a game against the Minnesota
. Sims remains a beloved former sports figure in
Detroit, where his number 20 would be worn five years after his
retirement by Barry Sanders
After his NFL retirement, he filed for bankruptcy
and divorced his first wife.
his divorce, Sims moved back to Norman, Oklahoma, where he worked for a short period in the
University of Oklahoma athletic department.
He now serves as
a vice president with AmericaCan, a non-profit organization, and as
part owner of Billy Sims Barbecue. Sims also makes appearances for
sports marketing firms.
Billy Sims BBQ was founded by Sims and Jeff Jackson, owner of
Sports Fan-Attic sports memorabilia stores in Tulsa and Oklahoma
City. The restaurants are decorated with various pieces of OU and
Detroit Lions nostalgia spanning the career of both Sims and other
football greats. The restaurants were featured in the July 2007
edition of Sports Illustrated in an article about former sports
stars who now own restaurants. All locations are in Oklahoma in
Broken Arrow, Tulsa, Edmond, Duncan, and Davis, with ongoing
renovations to open another in Sapulpa, Oklahoma
In 2007, a bronze statue of Sims was dedicated on the University of
Oklahoma campus in Heisman Park, commemorating his 1978 award. The
life and one half size statue was created by Sculptor Jim Franklin
in his Studio in Perry, OK. The bronze was cast by the Bronze Horse
Foundry in Pawhuska, OK.
He has enthusiastically tried to start the "Boomer! Sooner!"
Oklahoma cheer immediately following the naming of the winner at
the Heisman Trophy induction ceremonies of the two most recent
Oklahoma Sooner winners, Jason White
and Sam Bradford
, but many in the media have
criticized his antics as upstaging the winner. On December 16, 2008
he apologized to those upset by his behavior and said that he hoped
his actions had not reflected poorly on the University of Oklahoma.
He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995.
A hero in
his hometown of Hooks,
Texas, there is a city road named Billy Sims Road and the
local library wall is adorned with his photos.
- High School (Hooks High School 1972-74, High School Coach: Jack
- Consecutive 100-yard games: 38 (state record)
- Total 100-yard games: 38
- Total points: 516
- Carries-season: 441 (1973; 378 in 1974)
- Rushing yards in a seasons: 3,080 (1973; 2,885 in 1974)
- Career carries: 1,128
- Total yards: 7,738
- 3-Time Pro-Bowl selection
- 32nd - NFL All-Time Rushing Yards Per-Carry
- 75th, along with Calvin
Hill & Don Perkins, - NFL
All-Time Rushing Touchdowns (42)
- 92nd - NFL All-Time Rushing Yardage (5,106)