Former Oklahoma football coach recalls not-so-happy Sooner sideline days

Just when Sooner football fans think the name Howard Schnellenberger can be fully erased from the mind, the gravelly voiced walrus of college football still haunts the Sooner Nation.


In a story posted on, Schnellenberger unaffectionately recalls his days of roaming the sidelines in Norman.


Sorry to remind you of this Sooner fans. It was 1995, when the University of Oklahoma shocked the sporting world and hired Schnellenberger to be the head football coach. It seemed about as appropriate as hiring Ted Nugent as spokesperson for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.


Schnellenberger took his Sooner squad to a whopping 5-5-1 record. During the season, allegations of alcohol abuse arose, and before the next season, Schnellenberger was looking for a new job.


The story featured Schnellenberger's 47-year-old son, Stephen, who suffers from brain damage and is staying alive mainly due to a feeding tube.


"This football (at Florida Atlantic University) has been such a God-given gift for us," Schnellenberger said. "It's given us a new challenge, a new reason to be alive and think about the positive things in life. If I'd been at Oklahoma when this terrible thing happened to Steve, he'd be dead."


Ouch. Is he talking about the health-care system in Oklahoma or the wishbone offense?


Schnellenberger reveals after leaving Oklahoma he tried to become a bond salesman but had to take the exam three times. And, he stopped drinking.


"I quit drinking to make damn sure I was never put in that situation again," he said. "If you do drink, it can be construed as anything."


Now the coach at Florida Atlantic, Schnellenberger had the Owls playing in their first bowl game, the New Orleans Bowl, against Memphis. And, no joke: A nationally televised audience watched the Owls fly past the Tigers, 44-27. Schnelly was seen zipping up his barn door during the triumphant victory.