1977 - 1999  Sooner
(Authentic Reproduction)


The 10-1 regular season of 1977, built upon a combination of the usual Wishbone attack and a new Pro-I formation, got off to a tough start as the Sooners just got by Vanderbilt 25-23 and lost 13-6 to rival Texas on October 8th. They did however introduce a change to the helmet that was well accepted. The red shell was altered to a shade of Cardinal and while still adorned with what had become the iconic white square-angled “OU” logo on each side and white two-inch player numerals in the rear, now sported a white facemask for great contrast.The early schedule included a great 29-28 victory at Ohio State as kicker Uwe Von Schamann led the “Block that kick” chant by 91,000 Buckeye fans and immediately knocked through the winning forty-one yard field goal. It was clear sailing despite a tussle with Missouri as they dominated Colorado and Nebraska. Unexpectedly losing in the Orange Bowl, 31-6 to an Arkansas team that had suspended key players prior to the game sullied the season and had many forgetting that once again, OU was the country’s best rushing team and dominated the All Conference squad and had five All Americans. Kinlaw recovered from his knee injury of ’76 to control the line from his NG spot, Cumby and Hunt came into their own at LB as All American choices, and DB Zac Henderson completed his OU career as a two-time selection. Henderson was productive in the CFL before joining the Eagles in 1980 and then played with Tampa Bay in the USFL. All American guard Greg Roberts led the offensive line with Baldischwiler as an All Conference pick having a nine-year NFL career with the Lions and Colts. QB Lott ran for 761 yards which got him an All Big Eight honor also.




As Oklahoma entered the 1978 season, they had wholesale changes on the staff.  The fantastic freshmen group of 1975 had fully matured into a cohesive and dangerous group and most OU fans considered this to be the most talented of Switzer’s teams due to its quality depth. The 11-1 record included a convincing 31-10 win over Texas and the only nail biter among the victories was the 17-16 close call with Kansas. This squad that finished the season ranked number-two nationally in rushing and scoring offense were defeated only by Nebraska as six lost fumbles, one of them by All American HB Billy Sims on the three-yard line of the Cornhuskers, cost them a 17-14 decision. In a stroke of luck or genius, both Nebraska’s Tom Osborne and Switzer agreed to an Orange Bowl rematch and the 31-24 Sooner win doesn’t indicate that the Huskers came up with a late score to make it appear closer than it was. The convincing victory produced a National Championship picture that was split among Oklahoma, Alabama, and USC. Switzer seemed to re-load each season as All American quality players were produced in Norman. QB’s Tommy Lott, All Big Eight, and his back-up, underclassman J.C. Watts, a Baptist preacher, ran the show and Sims, who added the Heisman Trophy and Walter Camp Award in this, his junior season, wasn’t the entire show. He was the definitive offensive weapon as his 1896 rushing yards indicated, but David Overstreet was a great change of pace back and Elvis Peacock was extremely dangerous as was FB Kenny King. All of the backfield seniors went pro with King playing for the Oilers in ’79 and then another six years with the Raiders. Lott was with the Cardinals as a running back, and Peacock had a few decent years with the Rams and Bengals. TE Victor Hicks was with the Rams for two seasons and then in the USFL with New Jersey and Denver. Two time All American and Outland Trophy winner guard Greg Roberts was a force and went on to the Buccaneers and USFL Generals while kicker Uwe Von Schamann, All Conference, held his teammates confidence with his 248 career points and later kicked for the Dolphins from ’79 through 1984. As potent as the offense was, it was the defense that proved to be as stout as it needed to be, paced by two time All American noseguard Reggie Kinlaw who had an eight-year NFL stay with the Raiders and Seahawks. All American Daryl Hunt earned this honor for a second time and was a three-time All Big Eight honoree. As team captain, he was a great leader and then played with the Oilers for seven seasons. All Big Eight picks included Phil Tabor at DT, Reggie Mathis at DE, and Darrol Ray at DB. 




Originally raised in the projects of St. Louis, Billy Sims moved to Hooks, Texas to live with his grandparents as he entered eighth grade. He was a natural in the only athletic game that truly mattered in Texas and his football ability earned him an opportunity to go to the college of his choice as the nation’s top high school recruit. Sims’ 7738 yard high school rushing career was a perfect match for Oklahoma’s Wishbone and Sims became part of an incredible 1975 OU recruiting class. His collegiate career started slowly, playing as a back-up as a freshman and missing almost his entire sophomore redshirt campaign with an ankle injury. Sims developed his skills in ’77 and exploded in 1978, leading the nation in rushing and scoring with 1762 yards and twenty touchdowns respectively. He helped to lead the Sooners to a National Championship and 11-1 record. Putting tremendous pressure on the defense with his all-the-way ability, he was AP and UPI Player Of The Year and the winner of the Heisman Trophy. In 1979 his senior season was successful by all measures, gaining 1506 rushing yards and scoring twenty-two touchdowns as OU again went 11-1 with Sims the national leader in rushing and scoring. The Heisman Trophy went to Charles White of USC as Sims was the runner-up. He finished his Oklahoma career with staggering numbers: 4118 yards rushing that included twenty games of 100 yards or more and seven of 200 or more. His final two regular season games his senior season resulted in 282 yards against Missouri and 247 against Nebraska. His career average was a hefty 6.94 per carry and he was an excellent receiver. When one views the numbers, it should be immediately noted that they were compiled with Sims playing in no more than three-quarters of most games as he and his teammates dominated most opponents. Had he been utilized for entire games throughout his career, the statistics could very well have been mind-boggling. Sims was an easy choice for the College Football Hall Of Fame. As the Detroit Lions first draft choice, Billy Sims played from 1980 to 1984, being named to three Pro Bowls before his career was ended by a serious knee injury. In that short period of time he gained 5106 yards on the ground and was an effective receiver out of the backfield, picking up an additional 2072. Most believe he would have been a Pro Football Hall Of Fame player had he not had his career terminated so quickly. Sims remained active as a popular figure in Texas and Oklahoma, involved in numerous projects as well as opening a string of Oklahoma-based barbeque restaurants.


Switzer’s “Sooner Magic” continued for him through off the field controversy and an inability to satisfy fans that expected and demanded ten and eleven win seasons, every season. When an eight-victory year is considered “sub-par” one obviously has an absolutely great program. Oklahoma went 11-1 in Sims’ and Cumby’s senior season of ’79, 10-2 in ’80, and then “hit a plateau”, one that would have been welcomed by the vast majority of Division 1 schools in the nation. They went 7-4-1, 8-4, 8-4, and 9-2-1 prior to the National Championship season of 1985. Switzer silenced his critics by winning four straight Big Eight Conference championships, the 1985 National Championship, and by almost repeating in 1986 and ’87 when the Sooners had a final ranking of number three each season with identical 11-1 records, losing only to Miami both times. Unfortunately a series of highly publicized off-the-field incidents involving a very small minority of the OU players caused a firestorm of negative publicity in the early part of 1989 and despite an incredible record of 157-29-4, twelve Big Eight Conference crowns, and three National Championships, Switzer resigned on June 19th. What many did not realize was that his winning percentage of .837 was better than that of the great Bud Wilkinson whose legendary reign resulted in a .826 winning percentage based upon his 145-29-4 record. Both men won three National titles and Switzer remains the OU coach with the most victories. He was beloved by his players as an understanding and compassionate figure and was elected to the College Football Hall Of Fame. Assistant Gary Gibbs took over the head job with summer drills just around the corner and while his six-year record was a winning one, he did not meet the very high expectations of the Sooner faithful. Gibbs was replaced by Howard Schnellenberger who lasted but one season before former OU lineman and Dallas Cowboy assistant John Blake entered the picture. Blake had three losing seasons and in 1999, Bob Stoops stepped in as the new Sooner mentor and has restored the glory. Oklahoma has, in the Stoops era, won a National Championship and been a contender for the Big Twelve title almost every season. 

If interested in any of these OU helmets please click on the photos below.