Sooners football star, politician

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Jack Mildren, 58, the first quarterback in the University of Oklahoma’s vaunted wishbone offense who went on to become the state’s lieutenant governor, died from complications of stomach cancer May 22 at an Oklahoma City hospital.

Mildren, a native of Kingsville, Texas, was the quarterback for Oklahoma’s high- powered offense in 1971, when the Sooners set an NCAA record that still stands by averaging 472.4 rushing yards.

When Mildren was a junior at the university in 1970, the Sooners got off to a sluggish start, prompting Coach Chuck Fairbanks and assistant Barry Switzer to switch to the wishbone offense.

The next season the Sooners racked up 5,196 yards on 813 rushes, finishing 11-1 by defeating Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma’s only loss came in the so-called Game of the Century, when top-ranked Nebraska beat the second-ranked Sooners, 35-31, despite four touchdowns by Mildren -- two rushing and two passing.


Mildren was drafted by the Baltimore Colts and played defensive back for three seasons with the Colts and the New England Patriots.

He returned to a business career in Oklahoma and was elected lieutenant governor in 1990. He ran for governor as the Democratic Party nominee in 1994 but lost to Republican Frank Keating.