Sunday, June 1, 2008

Remembering Jack Mildren

Last week when I received news of Jack Mildren’s death, it saddened me, but it also jogged my memory a little.

I was fortunate to watch 25 straight OU-Texas games from the press box. The 1973 game was my first and Jack Mildren was finished as the Sooners’ QB by then. But I had been a fan of OU for several years, including when Mildren took all the snaps from center.

One night in Austin, I was there for coaching school. That’s something I always attended, too. This particular night, I was sitting -- okay, it was a bar – while listening to Ray Dowdy tell stories, even though I don’t drink. He was quite the story-teller and he had coached at Tatum High School, one of the schools in the Longview News-Journal circulation area.

Anyway, he jumped on the subject of OU and Jack Mildren.

Dowdy, see, had played with the Longhorns and Austin Reagan High against Mildren when he was with the Sooners and Abilene Cooper as well.

As Dowdy told it, Mildren and Abilene Cooper were on the one-yard line going in for a touchdown to win the game and the state championship. Mildren called his own number and tried a quarterback sneak, over – you guessed it – Dowdy’s defensive tackle spot with the clock running out.

Mildren looked up at Dowdy, saying “Here I come, try and stop me.”

Dowdy nodded, “Bring it on.”

Cooper wound up losing the game and championship, 20-19.

That was in 1967. Fast forward to 1971, and the situation is the same. OU and Mildren, needing to score a TD late in the game against Texas and Dowdy.

Dowdy tells it again.

Mildren called a QB sneak to go over Dowdy’s defensive tackle spot. “Bring it on” remembers Dowdy. Well, the Longhorns won the game 26-20.

I wasn’t there, but I loved to hear Jack Mildren stories. Now, sadly, both Mildren and Dowdy have passed on at fairly young ages and all we’re left with is stories.


At June 3, 2008 at 7:23 AM , Blogger Glen Lazalier said...


My earliest memories of OU football involve a kicker named Buddy Leake (sp?). Maybe its just my old man's memory, but I recall several times when OU won on an extra point kick or a field goal by Buddy. And I remember that the Quarterback Club would arrange for the Wolves to go to Norman (usually) or Stillwater (on one occasion) to watch the Sooners.



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