Between the years and tears approximately 200 former Oklahoma State football players, family and friends, celebrated the Jim Stanley Era of Cowboy football Friday evening at the White Barn Estates.

The banquet and program, masterfully chaired by Russ Farthing and the OSU Posse office, was set to maximize the talents of television network sportscaster Chris Lincoln in his roll as master of ceremonies.

There were numerous moments of light-hearted jokes when Stanley and numerous former players were brought to the podium. Then there were times the former coach and “his kids” hesitated their remarks to cope with tears.

“I came here to celebrate my former players,” Stanley said. “And what did they do? They turned it into an evening for my family and me.

“Players like you here (Friday) is why someone like me loved coaching, especially in Stillwater.”

Stanley recalled a time in talking to Dallas Cowboy coaching great Tom Landry concerning a pro coaching job in Dallas, he was asked by the legendary coach, “Where did you have the best time in your coaching career?”

Stanley replied, “Oklahoma State because of the people in the community, university and athletic department were the greatest.

“I didn’t get the job in Dallas because Jerry Jones bought the team and I took a job in Houston.”

Derrel Gofourth, an All-America center for the Cowpokes in 1976, recalled, “I remember when I was being recruited by Oklahoma State and Coach Stanley called me into his office.

“He had a large notebook in front of him and he was telling me about the marvelous educational opportunities available at OSU when I asked him to stop. I told him I know OSU is a great school but I’m really coming here to play football.”

Gofourth concluded, “Coach slammed the notebook shut and said, ‘Young man, that’s what I wanted to hear.”

All-America defensive back Alvin Brown, dressed in a dark double-breasted suit, looked at his coach and touchingly said, “I love you Coach because there wasn’t anybody else that would give a 5-11, 162-pound kid a chance at safety in college. They were all looking for players 6-2 by 215 pounds.”

After Brown’s remarks Stanley said, “Alvin wasn’t just tough he was the best player in college on breaking to the ball. Darrell Royal once told me the great corners have “it”, or whatever “it” was.

“Alvin certainly had ‘it’.”

Two-time All-America running back Terry Miller had a tougher time with words than he did opposing tacklers while in college.

“You always hear things about coaches like ‘he’s a player’s coach’ or ‘he’s a man’s coach,” Miller claimed. “Coach Stanley was a ‘mom’s coach’ and that was one of the big reasons I came to OSU.

“But before I go any further, let me tell you all of those yards and touchdowns weren’t mine. They belonged to you guys out here in the audience.”

Stanley confirmed this by adding, “We had good, tough offensive linemen like Gofourth, Mark Perrelli, Ron Baker, Jim Ledford and (Mike) Ritz. You’ll never have a good team if you don’t have a good offensive line.

“Terry Miller was one of the five best running backs in the country when he was a senior in high school. We got him and he turned out to be the best of the lot.

“I sincerely feel he should have won the Heisman Trophy either his junior or senior year. Maybe both.”

There were repeated references to the tough practice sessions under Stanley and most of the players attributed their coach’s hard drills he learned when he was one of the “Junction Boys” under taskmaster Bear Bryant.

“More than once when a player went down coach would just move practice over a few yards and get back to the drill,” offensive lineman Tom Wolf laughed. “All you need to do is ask some of the guys in this room.”

Stanley confessed he wasn’t a battle-tested product of the punishing drills at Junction, Texas, that pared the Aggie roster down to 26 players.

“I was just a freshman when we went to Junction,” Stanley said with a smile. “Coach (Bryant) was just trying to hide me out from Tennessee, who had been recruiting me hard after I got out of high school in Kentucky.

“I saw it but I wasn’t part of it.”

All-American linebacker Cleveland Vann was “the best linebacker I ever coached,” according to Stanley.

About Vann, Miller said, “he just seemed to glide either direction and get to the hole. Nobody on our side of the ball wanted to get hit by him.”

On a more somber note, those in attendance paid homage to the 13 teammates and former coaches who had passed on. The players listed were Phillip Dokes (whose mother was in attendance), Steven Hammond, Michael Mitchell, Kenny Pirozzo, Dean Prater, Ricky H. Taylor and Sandy Whaley.

At this point Lincoln adjourned the formal meeting but the players remained for hours rehashing old times.

Trending Video

Recommended for you