Oklahoma Sooners’ Jimmy Harris Entering Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame


Monday is the annual Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony and the Oklahoma Sooners’ Jimmy Harris will be one of the men who enter this prestigious Hall. Sadly, Harris died in 2011 at the age of 76, so it will be Jay Wilkinson, the son of Sooners’ legendary head coach Bud Wilkinson, who will accept the honor for him.

"“I was 7 years behind Jimmy, and my brother Pat was 5 and he was a hero to us,” Jay Wilkinson said of Harris. “He was somebody we wanted to emulate. All of us who played ball wanted to grow up and play just like him.”"

Jimmy Harris was the starting quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners from 1954-1956, starting 25 games. For Sooners fans, those years were important because those were the three years that no team in the nation could beat the Oklahoma Sooners as they marched on to a still-unmatched 47 game winning streak.

Through his 25 games as Sooners’ quarterback, Jimmy Harris never lost a game. He was never an All-Big 7 player and he didn’t even play quarterback in the NFL, where the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Texans and Dallas Cowboys all used him as a defensive back.

Yet, at the Oklahoma Sooners, he was unbeatable, and in those days, it meant he did not make mistakes and was a consummate leader. Under his leadership, the Oklahoma Sooners won national titles in 1955 and 1956. With 25 wins, he won more than half of the games during that legendary OU winning streak.

Plus, Jimmy Harris called all his own plays, something you won’t see in college football today.

Of the offense that he led, Harris is the fourth player to enter the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, following running backs Tommy McDonald and Clendon Thomas and his own center Jerry Tubbs. Of course, coach Bud Wilkinson is also in the Hall of Fame as well.

"“There were so many good players at that period of time that Jimmy was probably not recognized for the role he played,” Jay Wilkinson said. “But when people look back and reflect on the record, I think it’s certainly very appropriate.”"

Jimmy Harris is joined in the 2013 Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame by University of Oklahoma wrestling great, Wayne Baughman; Chairman of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Clay Bennett; Olympic gold medalist, Nadia Comaneci; Oklahoma City University football standout, LeRoy “Ace” Gutowsky; University of Kansas head basketball coach, Bill Self Jr.; and Oklahoma State two-sport All American, John Henry Ward.

The induction ceremonies will be held on Aug. 5, 2013 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.