Jack Mildren
File:Jack Mildren.jpg
13th Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma
In office
January 14, 1991 – January 9, 1995
Governor David Walters
Preceded by Robert Kerr
Succeeded by Mary Fallin
Personal details
Born (1949-10-10)October 10, 1949
Kingsville, Texas, U.S.
Died May 22, 2008(2008-05-22) (aged 58)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Oklahoma

Larry Jack Mildren (October 10, 1949 – May 22, 2008), was an All-American quarterback at the University of Oklahoma, and professional football player with the Baltimore Colts and New England Patriots. A native Texan, he was later an oil company owner, elected as the 13th Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma, and enjoyed a career as a successful bank executive in Oklahoma.

Early yearsEdit

Born in Kingsville, Texas, Mildren played football at Cooper High School in Abilene, set passing records, and graduated in 1968.[1]

College footballEdit

Mildren is perhaps best known as the "Godfather of the Wishbone" going back to his days as quarterback at the University of Oklahoma (1969–71). Introduced at OU in 1970 by head coach Chuck Fairbanks, the success of "The Bone" depended on a quarterback with a rare combination of quickness, strength, and intelligence. Posting a mediocre 6–4 record in Mildren's sophomore year in 1969 and off to a lackluster 2–1 start in 1970, Fairbanks' Sooners installed the option offense during the two-week period between a 23–14 home loss to Oregon State,[2] and the annual Red River Rivalry clash against arch-rival Texas. Despite losing 41–9 to the Longhorns (who had run the wishbone to a national title the previous season),[3] Oklahoma quickly turned their season around, going 5–2–1 in their final eight games, and also ushered in a period of rushing dominance seldom seen before or since.

Mildren set records in his senior season in 1971 that have since been exceeded. The Sooners posted an 11–1 record, with the wishbone averaging over 472 yards rushing per game. Mildren set records for most rushing yards in a season (1,140), most career touchdown passes (25), and season passing efficiency (209.0) record. OU won its first nine games and fell just short of a national championship, losing 35–31 at home in Norman on Thanksgiving to eventual champ Nebraska, billed as the Game of the Century. The defending national champion Cornhuskers gambled defensively by taking halfback Greg Pruitt out of the action and forced Mildren to defeat them virtually on his own; he threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more.[4][5][6][7]

Mildren was named both All-American and Academic All-American his senior season. He was also named the Sugar Bowl MVP after the Sooners' 40–22 victory over #5 Auburn in New Orleans on New Year's Day, a game OU led 31–0 at halftime.[8][9] Mildren's 1971 single-season record for yards rushing by a quarterback (1,140) was broken three seasons later by Freddie Solomon.[10]

Pro footballEdit

Mildren was selected in the second round of the 1972 NFL Draft (46th overall) by the Baltimore Colts and joined the ranks of the pros for three seasons, playing defensive back for the Colts and New England Patriots.

Political careerEdit

In 1990, Mildren was elected the 22nd Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma. In 1994, Mildren was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Oklahoma, losing to Republican Frank Keating by approximately 17% of the popular vote (in a three-way race; narrowly coming in second place against independent gubernatorial candidate Wes Watkins, a former Democratic Congressman who later become a GOP Congressman). Although Mildren was at first the frontrunner in the Governor's race, 1994 was a strong year for the Republican party while President Bill Clinton was controversial nationally and unpopular in Oklahoma. The Republican congressional landslide of 1994 included the historic takeover of both houses of the U.S. Congress.

Career in bankingEdit

Mildren served as the Vice-Chairman for the Arvest Bank Group, and as an announcer for Jox 930 WKY – Oklahoma's oldest radio station – which is an all-sports radio station in Oklahoma City. He was also a regular contributor on WWLS The Sports Animal, having a regular segment with Al and Jim (The Total Dominance Hour).

Personal lifeEdit

Mildren had three children; Leigh Woody (married to Russell Woody), Lauren Buchanan (married to Brad Buchanan) and Andrew Mildren (married to Caroline Mildren). His lineage now includes grandsons: Jacob Mildren Woody, Christopher Russell Woody, Jack Culver Mildren and Lucas Taylor Buchanan; and he had two granddaughters Elizabeth Grace Mildren and Olivia Claire Mildren. He is survived as well by his wife Janis.


Mildren died of stomach cancer at age 58 in 2008.[1][11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Talley, Tim (May 27, 2008). "Mourners remember Jack Mildren". The Oklahoman ((Oklahoma City)). Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  2. "Beavers knock off Sooners, 23-14". Eugene Register-Guard ((Oregon)): p. 1B. September 27, 1970.
  3. "Texas dumps Sooners, 41-9". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press ((Oregon)): p. 6B. October 11, 1970.
  4. "'Huskers dump Sooners". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press ((Oregon)): p. 3B. November 26, 1971.
  5. "Kinney leads Nebraska triumph". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press ((Spokane, Washington)): p. 42. November 26, 1971.
  6. "Battle for top spot reveals a pair of winners". The Bulletin. UPI ((Bend, Oregon)): p. 8. November 26, 1971.
  7. Jenkins, Dan (December 6, 1971). "Nebraska rides high". Sports Illustrated: 22.
  8. Darling, Ed (January 2, 1972). "Sooners rip Tigers, 40-22". Tuscaloosa News ((Alabama)): p. 1B.
  9. "Sooners zap Eagles 40-22". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press ((Spokane, Washington)): p. 1, sports. January 2, 1972.
  10. "2009 Division I Football Records Book: Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Records". National Collegiate Athletic Association. p. 35. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  11. "OU great Mildren dies at 58". 23 May 2008. Retrieved 7 September 2016.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Kerr
Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma
Succeeded by
Mary Fallin
Party political offices
Preceded by
David Walters
Democratic nominee for Governor of Oklahoma
Succeeded by
Laura Boyd


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