Barry Switzer
File:Barry Switzer.jpg
Biographical details
Born (1937-10-05) October 5, 1937 (age 82)
Crossett, Arkansas
Playing career
Position(s)Center, linebacker
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Arkansas (assistant)
Oklahoma (assistant)
Dallas Cowboys
Head coaching record
OverallNCAA: 157–29–4 (.837)
NFL: 40–24 (.661)
NFL Playoffs: 5–2 (.714)
Bowls8-5 (.615)
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
Super Bowl XXX
3 National (1974–1975, 1985)
12 Big Eight (1973–1980, 1984–1987)
Sporting News College Football COY (1973)
Walter Camp Coach of the Year (1974)
College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2001 (profile)

Barry Switzer (born October 5, 1937) is a former football coach, active in the college and professional ranks between 1962 and 1997. He has one of the highest winning percentages of any college football coach in history,[1] and is one of only two head coaches to win both a college football national championship and a Super Bowl, the other being Jimmy Johnson.[2]

Early life and careerEdit

Born in Crossett, Arkansas, to parents, Frank and Mary Louise Switzer, Barry and his brother, Donnie, were raised by their mother following their father's supposed arrest for the illegal production and sale of alcohol until her death from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on August 26, 1959.[citation needed]

Barry accepted an athletic scholarship and played football at the University of Arkansas. After graduation, he did a brief stint in the US Army and then returned to Arkansas as an assistant coach.

University of OklahomaEdit

Following the 1966 season, Switzer moved to the University of Oklahoma as an assistant coach under new head coach and good friend, Jim Mackenzie. After Mackenzie died of a heart attack following spring practice of 1967, Switzer continued as an assistant under former University of Houston assistant and new Oklahoma head coach Chuck Fairbanks.

Switzer quickly made a name for himself by perfecting the wishbone offense and developing it into the most prolific rushing offense in college football history. Under Switzer's wishbone, the Sooners set an NCAA rushing record of 472 yards per game in 1971 and scored over 500 points in two different seasons, 1971 and 1986.[3]

When Fairbanks accepted the position of head coach of the New England Patriots following the 1972 season, Switzer was the obvious choice to succeed him.[2]

Switzer became head coach at Oklahoma in 1973, leading the team to undefeated seasons that year and the next. Oklahoma won national championships in 1974, 1975 and 1985 under Switzer's leadership. The team won or shared in the Big Eight Conference championship every year from 1973 to 1980. During his sixteen years as head coach at Oklahoma, his teams won eight of the thirteen post-season bowl games they played in, and 54 of his players were selected as All-Americans. In 1978, Billy Sims won the Heisman Trophy.

In 1983, Switzer was civilly prosecuted for illegal insider trading by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), but defended himself as having innocently overheard the information while lounging on the bleacher behind some corporate insiders, and was found not guilty.[4][5]

In 1989, Oklahoma was placed on probation by the NCAA [2] amidst several scandals involving Oklahoma players, including Charles Thompson's arrest for soliciting cocaine to undercover FBI agents.[6] In that same year, after sixteen years as Oklahoma's head coach, Switzer chose to resign. Switzer succeeded in getting the better of several famous contemporaries, including a 12–5 mark against Tom Osborne, 5–3 against Jimmy Johnson, 3–0 against Bobby Bowden, and 1–0 against Joe Paterno, Bo Schembechler, and Woody Hayes. Along with Bennie Owen, Bud Wilkinson, and Bob Stoops, he is one of four coaches to win over 100 games at the University of Oklahoma. No other college football program has more than three coaches to accomplish such a feat.

Switzer was known as an outstanding recruiter of high school talent, particularly in the neighboring state of Texas. This may have contributed to his 9–5–2 record against the University of Texas, including a 3–0–1 record against Darrell Royal and a 2–0 mark against David McWilliams.

Dallas CowboysEdit

Switzer resurfaced in coaching in 1994 with the Dallas Cowboys. Switzer stepped in following the departure of Jimmy Johnson, who as head coach had won the previous two Super Bowls. Johnson had clashed with owner Jerry Jones (leading to his departure) and many felt that Switzer was more apt to go along with Jones' ideas. Switzer was successful with the Cowboys, going 12–4 his first season in 1994 (losing to the 49ers in the NFC Championship). However, in the game he was criticized for making two critical errors. In the first half, with the Cowboys down 24-14, he opted not to run out the clock, giving the 49ers a chance to score one last touchdown before the half ended. Later, in the fourth quarter, with the Cowboys still down 38-28 and trying to rally, he was penalized for running into an official after a pass interference call was missed. This ended the Cowboys' chances of a comeback. In Switzer's second season of 1995, the team went 12–4. Dallas won Super Bowl XXX over the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27–17, making Switzer one of only two coaches to win a college national championship and a Super Bowl (the other being Jimmy Johnson). Switzer resigned as Cowboys' coach after a 6–10 1997 season with a 45–26 career NFL coaching record.[2]

In August 1997, Switzer was arrested after a loaded .38-caliber revolver was found in his luggage at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. Switzer, who was returning to the team's training camp facility in Austin, said there were children at his Dallas home and he put the gun in his bag to hide it from them. He said he accidentally forgot to remove the gun from the bag before heading to the airport.[7] Switzer pled guilty, was fined $3,500, and was given one year deferred adjudication. Two days later, he was fined $75,000 by Jones.[8]

After coachingEdit

Switzer was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002.[1] In 2004, he received the Jim Thorpe Lifetime Achievement Award. Switzer still resides in Norman, Oklahoma with his wife Becky.[2] In August 2007, XMSN added Barry Switzer[9] as a part of the channel's expanded college sports coverage. On September 9, 2007 Barry Switzer joined the FOX NFL Pregame show. Switzer also guest-starred in an episode of TNT's Saving Grace titled "Do You Love Him?", which first aired August 11, 2008 and received sub-par reviews. As a color commentator, Barry Switzer is known for his insightful football knowledge stemming from his career as a head coach. In 2006, Barry and good friend Toby Keith helped found First Liberty Bank in Oklahoma City.[10] He also owns Switzer's Locker Room and a number of other small businesses in the Norman area.

Head coaching recordEdit


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Oklahoma Sooners (Big Eight Conference) (1973–1988)
1973 Oklahoma 10–0–1 7–0 1st 2 3
1974 Oklahoma 11–0 7–0 1st 1
1975 Oklahoma 11–1 6–1 T-1st W Orange 1 1
1976 Oklahoma 9–2–1 5–2 T-1st W Fiesta 6 5
1977 Oklahoma 10–2 7–0 1st L Orange 6 7
1978 Oklahoma 11–1 6–1 T-1st W Orange 3 3
1979 Oklahoma 11–1 7–0 1st W Orange 3 3
1980 Oklahoma 10–2 7–0 1st W Orange 3 3
1981 Oklahoma 7–4–1 4–2–1 2nd W Sun 14 20
1982 Oklahoma 8–4 6–1 2nd L Fiesta 16 16
1983 Oklahoma 8–4 5–2 T-2nd
1984 Oklahoma 9–2–1 6–1 T-1st L Orange 6 6
1985 Oklahoma 11–1 7–0 1st W Orange 1 1
1986 Oklahoma 11–1 7–0 1st W Orange 3 3
1987 Oklahoma 11–1 7–0 1st L Orange 3 3
1988 Oklahoma 9–3 6–1 2nd L Florida Citrus 14 14
Oklahoma: 157–29–4 100–11–1
Total: 157–29–4
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.

National Football LeagueEdit

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
WonLostTiesWin %Finish Won Lost Win % Result
DAL1994 1240.7501st in NFC East 1 1 .500 Lost to the San Francisco 49ers in NFC Championship Game.
DAL1995 1240.7501st in NFC East 3 0 1.000 Won Super Bowl XXX.
DAL1996 1060.6251st in NFC East 1 1 .500 Lost to the Carolina Panthers in NFC Divisional Round.
DAL1997 6100.3754th in NFC East - - -


External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
George Seifert
Super Bowl Winning Head Coach
Super Bowl XXX, 1996
Succeeded by
Mike Holmgren
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.