With 71-year-old Larry Brown apparently headed back to coaching at SMU, it got me to wondering what it would take for Oklahoma’s three living coaching legends to jump back in.
Of course, I speak of Barry Switzer, Eddie Sutton and Billy Tubbs.
Outlandish, you say? I’d probably agree. But…
What if someone really, really wanted Tubbs, Sutton or Barry Switzer? Which would be most likely to jump back in?
1. Switzer: There’s less than a five percent chance any of them would do it, but talk about Arkansas hiring an interim coach in wake of the Bobby Petrino scandal made it fun to ask and discuss “what about Switzer?” for about two minutes. It wouldn’t be the craziest thing to happen in Fayetteville this spring.
2. Sutton: Here’s how close we came to this happening. Scott Sutton from ORU to Tulsa, Sean Sutton from ORU director of basketball operations to ORU head coach, Eddie Sutton to Sean’s assistant emeritus. In other words, not very close.
3. Tubbs: If Lamar had lost its mind and thrown Pat Knight under the bus 10 minutes after he threw his seniors there late last season, Tubbs would have received a call from his alma mater — seeking recommendations. Is it possible that he would have pulled a Dick Cheney/Larry Cochell “why-not-me?” Unlikely. (I couldn’t resist the unrelated but always entertaining clip of a THE vintage Billy Tubbs moment).
Let’s play a no-Googling game: Rank those three Oklahoma living legends from youngest to oldest.
My first thought was Tubbs, Switzer, Sutton — probably because I haven’t seen Billy in a while and in my mind’s eye he’s still got that blonde swooped hair and a twinkle in his eye.
The correct answer: Switzer (74), Sutton (76) and Tubbs (77) — all children of the Great Depression, all born in a 43-month span between 1935 and 1937. I didn’t realize how close they were in age, or how old they were. I prefer to think of them all in their 50s because that would mean I’m still in my late 20s.
How old is old?
Larry Brown is 71, the same age Eddie Sutton was when he coached his 800th career victory as interim coach at San Francisco in 2008 (Eddie turned 72 weeks later).
Barry Switzer is 74, the same age Casey Stengel was in 1965, when he managed for the last time with the 1965 New York Mets.
Bill Tubbs is 77, three years younger than Jack McKeon was last year, when at age 80 he managed 90 games for the then Florida Marlins. Tubbs coached his last game at his alma mater Lamar in 2006 at age 71.– the same age as the incoming coach at Southern Methodist University.