NORMAN, Okla. -- The University of Oklahoma athletics family is mourning the loss of Bobby Jack, one of the most accomplished two-sport stars in school history. Jack died Friday, May 23, at the age of 63. He had been battling cardiovascular complications recently.
A standout on the baseball diamond and basketball court in the early 1970s, Jack earned All-Big Eight honors in both sports and played an instrumental role in helping both programs to postseason appearances after lengthy droughts.
In basketball, Jack, who was known for his solid defensive play and rebounding ability, blossomed his junior and senior seasons on offense. He was the team's leading scorer his final two years, averaging 17.3 points per game as a junior and 16.5 as a senior for head coach John MacLeod. OU's NIT appearances his sophomore and junior years were the program's first postseason showings since 1947.
Jack, who earned all-conference honors in his final season on the hardwood, finished his career as OU's third-leading all-time scorer. He now ranks 25th in school history in scoring despite playing just three seasons. He finished his career with averages of 15.0 points and 5.8 rebounds a contest, and was drafted by the ABA's Miami Floridians.
Current OU head men's basketball coach Lon Kruger, who attended Kansas State, has firsthand knowledge of Jack's strengths on and off the playing surface.
"I played against Bobby in both baseball and basketball and he was an outstanding competitor," said Kruger. "More importantly, he was a terrific person and a prideful Sooner. He will be greatly missed."
Playing for legendary baseball coach Enos Semore, Jack was a three-time all-conference pick as an infielder (1970, '71 and '72) and earned All-America honors as a senior when he helped the Sooners to the 1972 College World Series (their first NCAA appearance after a 15-year hiatus). He went on to be drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the third round of the 1972 Major League Draft (59th overall selection) and rose to the level of Triple-A in the Braves' minor league system before deciding to enter the business world.
"Bobby Jack was arguably the greatest two-sport star in OU history," said Joe Simpson, Jack's baseball teammate at OU, former Major Leaguer and longtime television and radio announcer for the Atlanta Braves. "Great leader. Great roommate. Great teammate. Great friend. This is my 40th year in professional baseball and he was one of the best right-handed hitters I ever saw.
"I saw him get knocked to the ground on two consecutive pitches at Missouri and then hit the third pitch 450 feet for a home run. He was amazing, inspiring and a hell of a lot of fun. This is a tremendous loss for OU fans and those who played with him."
A 1968 Ponca City (Okla.) High School graduate, Jack is survived by his son, J. Aaron Jack, and daughter, Adrianne Louise Jack, who both returned to the Oklahoma City area last summer to be closer to their father. Aaron Jack was a high school basketball star at Jenks (Okla.) High School and went on to play collegiately at Penn State and Texas A&M. Other surviving family members include daughter-in-law Allison Leia-Cash Jack and grandsons Bowman Isaiah Jack and Robert Lincoln Jack.
A memorial service will be held for Bobby Jack on Monday, June 2, at 2 p.m. at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City (222 NW 15th St.). Attire for the service will be "Sooner formal." OU sport coats, sweaters, ties, suits, golf shirts or anything including crimson and cream are welcome and encouraged.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Bobby Jack Tribute Fund at the Alzheimer's Association (http://act.alz.org/goto/bobbyjack).