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Jim Mackenzie Documentary to Air Friday

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Mike Houck
By Mike Houck
Assistant A.D. / Strategic Communications
APRIL 26, 2017

NORMAN — A Sooner Sports TV documentary on former Oklahoma head football coach Jim Mackenzie will air on FOX Sports Oklahoma and FOX College Sports Central this Friday, the 50th anniversary of Mackenzie's death.

The 30-minute documentary, produced by SoonerVision's Jacob Potter and titled Sooner Sports TV Featured: Jim Mackenzie, is scheduled to air at 10:30 p.m. CT and highlights the 1966 season, Mackenzie's lone year at OU. At the conclusion of the 1967 spring football season, the 37-year-old Mackenzie died of a heart attack after returning home from a recruiting trip.

Mackenzie, who replaced Gomer Jones as head coach following a 3-7 season in 1965, led the Sooners to a 4-0 start and a No. 10 national ranking. Included was an 18-9 victory over Texas, which broke OU's eight-game losing streak to the Longhorns. Oklahoma also edged fourth-ranked Nebraska that year, 10-9, and finished 6-4 overall and 4-3 in league play. Two of OU's losses came by three points and another by one point. Mackenzie was named Big Eight Coach of the Year.

The OU coaching staff Mackenzie assembled was considered for many years afterward as one of the best ever in the sport. Five of Mackenzie's assistants (Barry Switzer, Chuck Fairbanks, Homer Rice, Galen Hall and Larry Lacewell) went on to become Division I head coaches, and three of those five (Switzer [Dallas Cowboys], Fairbanks [New England Patriots] and Rice [Cincinnati Bengals]) later served as NFL head coaches.

The documentary, which contains film from SoonerVision archives and photos provided by Mackenzie's family, features interviews with Mackenzie's four grandchildren, Switzer, Fairbanks, former OU assistant coach Leon Cross, former OU players Steve Owens (running back and Heisman Trophy winner), Granville Liggins (defensive lineman), Ken Mendenhall (offensive lineman) and Bob Warmack (quarterback). Interview excerpts from longtime OU assistant Merv Johnson, who coached with Mackenzie at Arkansas, and OU broadcast team members Bob Barry Sr. and Ross Porter are also included.

As a collegian, Mackenzie played against the Sooners. He was a member of Paul "Bear" Bryant's 1950 Kentucky team that handed Oklahoma its only loss that season, a 13-7 Sugar Bowl defeat. OU still won the national championship, its first of seven and Bud Wilkinson's first of three.

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