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Jimmy and Barry


Gazette staff August 5th, 2010

Jimmy Johnson is the latest celebrity announced to carry a tiki torch on the "Survivor" reality show's Nicaraguan installment.

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Barry Switzer made headlines with his endorsement of Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jari Askins (and did the same thing for Gov. Brad Henry in 2002). Now another football coach with Oklahoma ties is making headlines.

His rival coach, Jimmy Johnson, is the latest celebrity announced to carry a tiki torch on the "Survivor" reality show's Nicaraguan installment.

The incredibly coiffed Johnson, 67, previously tried out for "Survivor" but failed the final cut when his physical showed some arterial blockage, according to The Miami Herald. Now he's leaving his Florida Keys fishing boat and headed to San Juan del Sur in southern Nicaragua.

Johnson is best known as the head football coach for the Dallas Cowboys (where he was followed by Switzer) and the University of Miami Hurricanes, but he cut his teeth as a head coach at Oklahoma State University and a defensive line coach at the University of Oklahoma.

Can Jimmy hold his own? In Switzer's autobiography co-written by Bud Shrake, "Bootlegger's Boy," Barry dished some dirt about dressing in drag with Johnson when both were serving as OU assistant coaches under Chuck Fairbanks. When Sooner fans were clamoring to "Chuck Chuck" " and immediately fire the staff in 1970 " some coaches decided to get "sloshed" and exchange clothing with their wives.

"I mean we put the bras on and the panties and hose and high heels and wigs," Switzer wrote in his tell-all 1990 book. "And dresses, of course. You should have seen Jimmy Johnson. He wore the biggest set of boobies this side of Las Vegas. Jimmy, I've still got the pictures."

Switzer also tells of Johnson halting at a stoplight on Lindsey Street in Norman with offensive line coach Gene Hochevar.

"Two rednecks wearing baseball caps pulled up beside them in a pickup truck," Switzer wrote. "The old redneck rolled down his window and said, 'Hey, babies. Where you all headed? "¦ Hey, honey! Hey, baby! You all looking to have a little fun?'"

"Jimmy opened his window and leaned out and glared at the rednecks and said, 'Go fuck yourself.' Scared the hell out of the rednecks. They laid rubber half a mile down the street. Johnson was laughing."

Jimmy was also chuckling when he owned the promoted Switzer as the University of Miami's coach, when OU's three losses from 1985-1987 were against the Hurricanes. But Jimmy went 0-5 against the Sooners at OSU.

In 1997, he opened Jimmy Johnson's Three Rings Bar & Grill restaurant, 4445 Lincoln in OKC. According to The Oklahoman, an Okie favorite listed on his menu was the "Jerry & Barry" Hog Wash Sandwich, which consisted of tongue and bologna at the now-defunct eatery. Yummo! The "Jerry" referred to Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones, Johnson's college teammate at the University of Arkansas (and former boss).
 
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