Coach Vernon Parrington, wearing hat on the sideline, leads the Oklahoma Sooners against the Arkansas City (KS) Town Team in 1899. Parrington was OU’s first head football coach and crafted one of the Sooners’ best career winning percentages.
The first head football coach of the Oklahoma Sooners also won the Pulitzer Prize for literature! Get to know the remarkable Vernon Parrington. John’s good friend and pastor Wade Burleson, an award-winning author, broadcaster, and avocational historian, continues “The Burleson Chapters” of OKLAHOMA GOLD! during John’s sabbatical that his Red River Institute of History Board of Directors has asked him to take to complete THE OKLAHOMANS 2.
They don’t make ‘em like Coach & Dr. Vernon Parrington any more, as you’ll see in the twenty-ninth episode of our weekly OKLAHOMA GOLD! radio program and podcast. Go HERE to listen to them all! Future episodes explore more great heroes, events, and movements of Oklahoma History.
The 1899 University of Oklahoma Rough Rider football uniform. It was the first season that OU had a head coach. The OU Rough Rider nickname honored the 1st United States Voluntary Cavalry’s nickname in the Spanish-American War. Future President Theodore Roosevelt’s famed unit included many Oklahoma plainsmen and pioneers. The Rough Riders preceded the Boomers of 1905, then the Sooners in 1908.
Dr. Vernon Parrington at the University of Oklahoma in 1900. Parrington came to OU from Kansas to develop the school’s English Department. He helped formulate everything from that, to the football team, to the campus architecture. While at OU and later, he developed the interdisciplinary American Studies program. He won the 1928 Pulitzer Prize for History for Main “Currents in American Thought,” a politics-centered, three-volume history of American letters from colonial times.
The Parrington Oval—now better known as the North Oval—on the University of Oklahoma campus.
Be sure to check out all of our other episodes of the weekly OKLAHOMA GOLD! radio program and podcast. Go HERE to keep up with them all. Future episodes explore more great heroes, events, and movements of Oklahoma History.
Many thanks to Atwoods Ranch and Home, a farm and ranch supply company based in Enid, Oklahoma, for their support of the Red River Institute of History and OKLAHOMA GOLD! Please support them as you are able! Wherever you are, you can order online from thousands of quality products on their terrific website HERE. Atwoods also has 66 stores in 5 states: Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. In addition to farm and ranch supplies, Atwoods stores sell clothing, lawn and garden items, tools, hardware, automotive supplies, sporting goods, pet supplies, firearms, and seasonal items.