Brent Venables begins his career as Oklahoma’s 23rd head football coach this fall. Let’s journey back through the annals of time to look at how Sooner coaches fared in their first seasons.
I have included their first season, record, and a marquee win or two that highlighted each coach’s inaugural season.
Not included are Jack Harts, who did not win the only game the University of Oklahoma played in 1895, and Oklahoma also did have a head coach in 1896.
Vernon L. Parrington
First Season: 1897
Marquee Win: 17-8 vs. Kingfisher College, which was Oklahoma’s first-ever game against a college team.
First Season: 1901
Marquee Win: 17-0 vs. Baylor two days after playing a game in Austin. The Rough Riders, as OU was known back then, stopped off in Waco on their return trip from Austin to help pay for expenses.
First Season: 1902
Marquee Win: 17-0 vs. Kingfisher College. This was the first time the Oklahoma football team had an identity. Players purchased red sweaters (used before jerseys in early days) with white “Okla” lettering across the chest.
First Season: 1904
Marquee Win: 75-0 vs. Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State). First meeting between the two schools.
First Season: 1905
Marquee Win: 2-0 vs. Texas. OU’s first victory over the Longhorns.
First Season: 1927
Marquee Win: 23-7 vs. University of Washington-St, Louis. Snapped a three-game winless streak in the season.
First Season: 1932
Marquee Win: 21-6 vs. Kansas. Adrian Lindsey was in his first year as the Jayhawks’ coach.
Lawrence “Biff” Jones
First Season: 1935
Marquee Win: 20-6 vs. Missouri. Spoiled the Tigers’ homecoming.
First Season: 1937
Marquee Win: 19-0 vs. Kansas State. Sooner QB Jack Baer returned to the lineup after missing three games with a broken jaw. OU tied Texas and Nebraska and lost to Kansas in Baer’s absence. Sooners were 5-1 with Baer in the lineup.
Dewey “Snorter” Luster
First Season: 1941
Marquee Win: 16-6 vs. Santa Clara. Broncos came to Norman undefeated and ranked No. 8 in the AP poll.
First Time: 1946
Marquee Wins: 10-7 vs. Texas A&M. Late field goal wins it for the Sooners. 34-13 vs. North Carolina State at the Gator Bowl. Oklahoma’s first bowl victory in its second appearance.
First Season: 1947
Marquee Win: 24-20 vs. Detroit. Late interception foils Detroit’s comeback attempt.
First Season: 1964
Marquee Win: 17-7 vs. Nebraska. Undefeated Cornhuskers arrived in Norman ranked No. 4 and riding a 16-game winning streak.
First Season: 1966
Marquee Wins: 18-9 vs. Texas. Snapped Longhorns’ eight-game winning streak in the series. 10-9 vs. Nebraska. Cornhuskers again came Norman undefeated and ranked No. 4.
First Season: 1967
Marquee Wins: 23-0 vs. Colorado. Unranked Sooners knock off No. 9 Colorado. 26-24 vs. Tennessee. Underdog Sooners (ranked No. 3) get Orange Bowl victory over No. 2 Volunteers.
First Season: 1973
Marquee Wins: 52-13 vs. No. 13 Texas. Most points scored on the Longhorns in the series (which has since been broken). 27-0 vs. No. 10 Nebraska. Cornhuskers held scoreless for the first time since OU shut them out 47-0 in 1968.
First Season: 1989
Marquee Win: 43-40 vs. Iowa State. Sooners took an onside kick after Cyclones’ fourth-quarter touchdown and returned it for a TD. ISU scored again, but OU secured the second onside kick to seal the victory.
First Season: 1995
Marquee Win: 13-9 vs. Missouri. A touchdown midway through the fourth quarter lifted Sooners to victory.
First Season: 1996
Marquee Win: 30-27 vs. Texas. OU got its first win of the season after 0-4 start. Sooners first overtime victory.
First Season: 1999
Marquee Win: 51-6 vs. Texas A&M. Aggies ranked No. 13 in loss to unranked Sooners.
First Season: 2017
Marquee Wins: 31-16 vs. Ohio State. No. 5 Sooners upset No.2 Buckeyes in Columbus, Ohio. 41-17 vs. TCU. No. 2 Oklahoma claims third-straight Big 12 Championship by walloping No. 10 Horned Frogs.