Mossman Prophecies No. 018
July 2, 2007
Oklahoma honors the late Prentice Gautt’s first season as an Oklahoma football player this
year, the anniversary of his first on the Norman campus.
Gautt was the first black football player at Oklahoma
and has long been considered a pioneer.
When announcements pertaining to Prentice come along,
and they still do after his passing, the general reaction
is one of warmth. I can only wonder how the news of
Gautt’s addition to the football team was received
in 1956. In some circles, I doubt if it was all that
It is likely that Gautt faced opposition based
solely on his skin color. I am sure the ridicule stung
and that he was forced to suppress anger on more than
Obviously I didn’t know Prentice Gautt when he
was a college student, but I did know him for about
20 years as a college and conference athletics administrator.
The adjectives fail when it comes to Prentice. Classy,
dignified, ethical. He was all of those things and
more. And he was all of those things every single time
you came in contact with him.
I’m not sure I ever met anyone who could exceed
Prentice’s consistency. You always knew what
you were going to get with him... an air of calmness,
a soft smile and those penetrating eyes. When Prentice
asked, “How are you doing,” he meant it.
He genuinely wanted to know your welfare, the status
of your family and the difficulty of your job.
If you responded with concern, his brow furrowed in
empathy. If you reported a triumph, his grin trumped
Prentice took the time to experience people and explore
the moment. What qualities.
Prentice was never loud and I can’t remember
a single time when he sought the spotlight. Despite
that, his magnetism was unmistakable. The reason? Every
time you came in contact with Prentice Gautt, you felt
better. Who among us would not seek out someone who
could put a salve on life, even for a few minutes?
Breaking the color barrier was a tremendous achievement.
For my money, it ranked no better than second for Prentice
The impact he had on his fellow man was the topper.
Here we are 50 years after his appearance on the football
team and almost two years following his death and yet
Prentice is still in the business of making others
Indeed, we should remember.
Mossman Prophecies Archive
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Kenny Mossman, Associate Athletics Director for
Communications, provides his perspective on Oklahoma
Athletics in his regular column on SoonerSports.com.