What’s up, Sooner Nation? So we’re halfway through the month of August, and that light at the end of the tunnel you can see is the 2018 season! With 16 days remaining in our Countdown to Kickoff, I’m throwing it way back to the Bud Wilkinson era.
16 days until #Sooners kickoff— Bryan Keating (@KOCOKeating) August 16, 2018
#16 Eddie Crowder was an All-American in 1952, quarterbacking the Sooners to Big 7 championships in 1951& 52. He became an assistant coach at OU from 1956–1962, and was the head coach at Colorado from 1963-73. pic.twitter.com/rrKV9ynheX
The year was 1951, and Wilkinson was entering his fifth season as the head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners and was fresh off of leading the school to its first national championship. OU needed a QB to lead a talented squad, and as fate would have it, a Kansas-born, Muskogee-raised kid named Eddie Crowder rose to the occasion.
Crowder pulled double-duty as a QB and a safety for two seasons. He led Oklahoma to two Big 7 Conference Titles (‘51, ‘52), was named to back-to-back All-Conference teams in ‘51 and ‘52 and was an All-American in ‘52.
The signal caller went on to be selected 22nd overall by the New York Giants in the 1953 NFL Draft, but turned down the selection because of a nerve issue in his throwing arm. So instead of going to the NFL, he served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, where he also played football for Fort Hood. However, Arnold did play the first half of the 1953 CFL season with the Edmonton Eskimos, splitting time at QB for former OU teammate Claude Arnold. He was later cut by Eskimos coach Darrell Royal due to limitations on the number of non-Canadian players allowed on a roster.
Arnold spent the 1955 season as offensive backs coach at Army before joining the OU staff a season later. In 1963, he left OU to become the head coach at Colorado, where he would lead the program to a 67-49-2 record before retiring from coaching at the conclusion of the 1973 season. He had already held the position of AD since 1965, and he would keep that position until 1984, hiring his three coaching replacements — Bill Mallory, Chuck Fairbanks and Bill McCartney.
Crowder passed away in 2008 at the age of 77.
Oklahoma has a deep history of excellence at the quarterback position, including three Heisman Trophy winners. While many Sooner QBs have led dynamic offenses, piled up the stats, and won championships, Eddie Crowder was one of the best to do it during his era. He’s also a piece of OU’s deep history of producing successful coaches.
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