Thursday, August 25, 2011

Father's picture of Stoops on ESPN

The day was Sept. 15, 1979. It was a typical late summer day in Oklahoma as my mother and father made their trek to Norman to watch OU open the season against Iowa.

My parents attended most of the OU homes games from the middle 1970s through early 1980s. My father, Gene Hall, was a serious photographer and had a sideline pass courtesy of the Southwest Times Record out of Fort Smith.

He would take pictures at the game and drive to Fort Smith to drop the film off so the SWTR could use a picture in the Sunday edition.

It was another series of openers for the Sooner dynasty under Barry Switzer, hosting an Iowa team which had just hired Hayden Fry as its new head coach.

This was OU, so everybody expected an easy win. But like many early games back in those days, the Sooners had trouble holding on to the ball and eventually won, 21-6.

That Sooner team featured Billy Sims, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and regarded as the best running back in the country.

On that day, an Iowa freshman named Bobby (now better known as Bob) was a member of the Hawkeyes and playing in his second college game after his team won the opener over Indiana the previous week.

Move forward to the early 2000s. Stoops was now the head coach at Oklahoma and my father pulled out the old negatives from that game, along with the game program.

He found Stoops in the program along with his number (41) and tried to see if he had pictures of the new OU coach during that game.

To his surprise, Stoops was pictured three times. The best one was of Stoops leaping over a blocker to try and tackle Sims. That picture is probably my father’s most famous picture and can be seen HERE.

It has been viewed by thousands of people over the years as I had posted it on my former photo website.

Now, move forward to 2011. Earlier this week, I got a text from a friend saying my father’s picture was shown on the ESPN All-Access series on the Sooners. I checked out the video and it had fans showing the picture to one of the Sooners. The player talks about how it is a great picture and he can’t believe it is actually his coach trying to tackle one of OU’s all-time greats.

Stoops appears in the background and is seen signing the picture for the fans. The episode can be seen HERE. It is in the middle of the video.

He is also pictured again trying to tackle Sims and in another picture, Stoops is tackling OU wide receiver Steve Rhodes. The gallery from that game (which includes the picture of Stoops in the program) can be seen HERE.

I just wish my father, who passed away three years ago, could have seen the video. It would have made his day, or year.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, Indiana beat Iowa that year 30-26, so Iowa was 0-1 coming into Norman which made the game more frustrating.