October 5, 1937 |
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
|Overall||NCAA: 157–29–4 (.837)
NFL: 40–24 (.661)
NFL Playoffs: 5–2 (.714)
College Football Data Warehouse
|Accomplishments and honors|
Super Bowl XXX
3 National (1974–1975, 1985)
12 Big Eight (1973–1980, 1984–1987)
Sporting News College Football COY (1973)
Walter Camp Coach of the Year (1974)
|College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2001 (profile)
Barry Switzer (born October 5, 1937) is a former football coach. He spent sixteen years as head coach of the University of Oklahoma and four years as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He has one of the highest winning percentages of any college football coach in history, and is one of only three head coaches to win both a college football national championship and a Super Bowl, the others being Jimmy Johnson and Pete Carroll.
Early life and career
Barry Switzer was born in Crossett, Arkansas, to parents Frank Mays Switzer and Mary Louise Switzer. Barry and his younger brother, Donnie, were at home in rural Ashley County, Arkansas with their mother and father when, in early February 1954, their home was raided by the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission and the Arkansas State Police. The Commission and the State Police found untaxed contraband liquor in the home. Frank made bond but was later tried and convicted of illegal trafficking in alcohol for purposes of re-sale ("bootlegging"). He was sentenced to a term of five years in prison, but that conviction was reversed upon appeal. Frank did serve five months of that term, and, as a result, missed seeing Barry play his senior season of high school football.
Barry and his brother Donnie were at home with their mother when on August 26, 1959, she took her life by her own hand with a .38 caliber pistol on the back porch of their home. On November 16, 1972, after Barry and his brother had each commenced their professional careers, in Norman, OK, and Nashville, TN, respectively, their father was murdered by a jealous lover.
Barry accepted an athletic scholarship and played football at the University of Arkansas. During his senior season of 1959 (with a post-season game on January 1, 1960 against Georgia Tech) he was one of the Razorbacks' "Tri-Captains." After graduation, he did a brief stint in the US Army and then returned to Arkansas as an assistant coach.
University of Oklahoma
Following the 1966 season, Switzer moved to the University of Oklahoma 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 Houston assistant and new Oklahoma head coach Chuck Fairbanks.
Switzer made a name for himself when he was OU's Offensive Coordinator 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.
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 Eight Conference 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 1983, Switzer was sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an alleged civil violation of the laws prohibiting "insider trading" of securities. He defended himself as having innocently overheard the information while lounging on the bleacher behind some corporate insiders—at a stadium where Switzer was watching his elder son compete in a track meet. The case was tried in Oklahoma City United States District Court (before a special U.S. District Judge appointed from Kansas). The case was dismissed at the conclusion of the Government's case for its failure to demonstrate that there had been any purposeful disclosure to Switzer.
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. Switzer succeeded in getting the better of several famous contemporaries, including a 12–5 mark against Tom Osborne, 5–3 against Jimmy Johnson, 3–0 against Bobby Bowden, and 1–0 against Joe Paterno, Bo Schembechler, 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 three coaches to accomplish such a feat.
Switzer was known as an outstanding recruiter of high school talent, particularly in the neighboring state of Texas. He has a 3-0-1 record against UT-Austin's Darrell Royal and a 2–0 mark against that university's David McWilliams.
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 Jones' ideas. Switzer was successful with the Cowboys, going 12–4 his first season in 1994 (losing to the 49ers in the NFC Championship). However, in the game he was criticized for making two critical errors. In the first half, with the Cowboys down 24-14, he opted not to run out the clock, giving the 49ers a chance to score one last touchdown before the half ended. Later, in the fourth quarter, with the Cowboys still down 38-28 and trying to rally, he was penalized for running into an official after a pass interference call was missed. This ended the Cowboys' chances of a comeback. 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 a college national championship and a Super Bowl (the others being Jimmy Johnson and Pete Carroll). Switzer resigned as Cowboys' coach after a 6–10 1997 season with a 40–24 career NFL coaching record.
In August 1997, Switzer was arrested after a loaded .38-caliber revolver was found in his luggage at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Switzer, who was returning to the team's training camp facility in Austin, said there were children at his Dallas home and he put the gun in his bag to hide it from them. He said he accidentally forgot to remove the gun from the bag before heading to the airport. Switzer pled guilty, was fined $3,500, and was given one year deferred adjudication. Two days later, he was fined $75,000 by Jones. After a disappointing 6-10 season in 1997, Switzer resigned as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
Switzer was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2004, he received the Jim Thorpe Lifetime Achievement Award. Switzer still resides in Norman, Oklahoma with his wife Becky. In August 2007, XMSN added Barry Switzer as a part of the channel's expanded college sports coverage. On September 9, 2007 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 and received sub-par reviews. As a color commentator, Barry Switzer is known for his insightful football knowledge stemming from his career as a head coach. In 2006, Barry and good friend Toby Keith helped found First Liberty Bank in Oklahoma City. He also owns Switzer's Locker Room and a number of other small businesses in the Norman area.
In February and March 2014 Switzer, a former collegiate coach at the University of Oklahoma, made some comments during various radio interviews about Johnny Manziel (a white player from Texas A & M eligible for the NFL Draft in 2014) which made some persons reach the conclusion that Switzer, a white man, harbors a racial prejudice against white players and ignored athletic ability in recruiting football players.
The interviews were primarily concerned with his well-known opinions about Manziel's off-the-field antics and the open disrespect the young man has often demonstrated against his own A & M Head Football Coach. Switzer went further, however, and applauded Manziel by noting that he was "...the best running quarterback he had ever seen." Then Switzer added that Manziel was so talented that he could "take over" a game, much as had former basketball greats Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan in that game.
Switzer finished collegiate coaching 26 years ago (see above), and in reference to his experience and success (as of the date of his retirement in 1989), he was the most winning collegiate coach in terms of percentage in "Modern Football History," i.e., since World War II. He, nonetheless, stated that Manziel was "... the best he had ever seen..." and that he was "..the quickest and most deceptive runner ever...." 
Then, during a comment about the college game from 1973 through 1988 he recalled, while laughing, "The only kids I would recruit for quarterback were black. Or if both their Momma and Daddy were black." When Switzer was Oklahoma's Offensive Coordinator in 1970, he convinced then Head Coach Chuck Fairbanks to switch to the wishbone to take advantage of Jack Mildren's talents, and Mildren was white. In fact, Switzer had recruited Mildren for his great athletic ability—before the Sooners switched to the wishbone formation. Yet Mildren has gone down in history as the "Godfather" of the Wishbone following that change.
Troy Aikman, the great UCLA and Dallas Cowboys passer, a white man, was originally recruited by Switzer to play at Oklahoma, and was doing well until he broke his ankle in the 1985 Oklahoma game vs. the University of Miami. Aikman's injury was severe, and he was out for the rest of the season. His place was taken by Jamelle Holieway, a black Los Angeles native, who led the Oklahoma team the rest of the season—including an Orange Bowl victory against Penn State for the 1985 National Championship. With Switzer's help in setting up an interview with Terry Donahue, the UCLA Coach, Aikman was able to then transfer to UCLA—where his passing talents were on full display and where he became the first pick in the NFL Draft in 1989.
Head coaching record
|Oklahoma Sooners (Big Eight Conference) (1973–1988)|
|1988||Oklahoma||9–3||6–1||2nd||L Florida Citrus||14||14|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
|#Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.
National Football League
|Team||Year||Regular Season||Post Season|
|Won||Lost||Ties||Win %||Finish||Won||Lost||Win %||Result|
|DAL||1994||12||4||0||.750||1st in NFC East||1||1||.500||Lost to the San Francisco 49ers in NFC Championship Game.|
|DAL||1995||12||4||0||.750||1st in NFC East||3||0||1.000||Won Super Bowl XXX.|
|DAL||1996||10||6||0||.625||1st in NFC East||1||1||.500||Lost to the Carolina Panthers in NFC Divisional Round.|
|DAL||1997||6||10||0||.375||4th in NFC East||-||-||-|
- "Switzer Is Honored To Be Inducted". The New York Times. August 10, 2002. Retrieved April 17, 2007
- "Barry Switzer". The Arkansas Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved April 17, 2007.
- Switzer v. Golden, 224 Arkansas 543; 274 S.W. 2d 769 (1955).
- Bootlegger's Boy, William Morrow & Co., NYC, c. 1989, by Barry Switzer with Bud Shrake
- Bootlegger's Boy, op. cit.
- "Oklahoma Yearly Totals". Cfbdatawarehouse.com. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
- Oklahoma has paid the price for anything goes, Sports Illustrated, 27 February 1989, retrieved 19 January 2009.
- By MIKE FREEMANPublished: August 05, 1997 (1997-08-05). "Switzer Arrested on Gun Charge". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
- "Switzer enters guilty plea to gun charge 12/3/97 | Amarillo.com | Amarillo Globe-News". Amarillo.com. 1997-12-03. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
- "Switzer out as Dallas coach Speculation centers on Seifert as next Cowboys field boss". The Baltimore Sun. 1998-01-10. Retrieved 2014-02-22.
- "College Football Kicks Off on XM Satellite Radio with the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, and SEC" (Press release). XM Satellite Radio. 2007-02-15. Retrieved 2007-09-19.
- Barry Switzer Thinks Johnny Manziel Is an 'Arrogant Little Prick'
- Now former coach Barry Switzer says he'd 'never recruit a white quarterback'
- Career Leaders and Records for Win-Loss Percentage
- Wishbone Football
- Bootlegger's Boy, William Morrow & Co., c. 1989, by Barry Switzer with Bud Shrake, at pp. 67 et. seq.
- Bootlegger's Boy, op. cit. pp. 152, 176,196-198
- Barry Switzer Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks - Pro-Football-Reference.com
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Barry Switzer|
- Barry Switzer at the College Football Data Warehouse
- Voices of Oklahoma interview with Barry Switzer. First person interview conducted with Barry Switzer. Original audio and transcript archived with Voices of Oklahoma oral history project.