Former lieutenant governor, Oil Bowl Hall of Famer Jack Mildren dies

Posted May 23, 2008

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Jack Mildren, a former lieutenant governor and the first quarterback in the University of Oklahoma’s lofted wishbone offense, died on Thursday.

Mildren is also a member of the Oil Bowl Hall of Fame (1995) and played in Wichita Falls in the all-star football game back in 1968.

Mildren, who had been undergoing treatment for stomach cancer, died at Integris Baptist Medical Center, spokeswoman Brooke Cayot confirmed.  He was 58 years old.

His brother, Richard Mildren, told The Oklahoman that Mildren was taken to the Oklahoma City Hospital after experiencing some health problems related to the cancer.

He received a call later from his brother’s son, Drew, who told him he lost his dad, Richard Mildren said.

Mildren was diagnosed two years ago but had continued to serve as a vice chairman for Arvest Bank and host a daily sports radio show on WKY 930-AM.

Lesilators at the state Capitol oberved a moment of silence for the longtime Democrat, who walked the halls there in the 1990s.  He ran for governor in 1994 but5 lost to Republican Frank Keating.

Before a political career, Mildren was the quarterback on Oklahoma’s vaunted wishbone offense in 1971, when the Sooners set an NCAA record by averaging 472.4 rushing yards.  That record still stands.

Just three years earlier, Mildren had arrived in Norman out of Cooper HIgh School in Abilene, Texas.

Before heading to Norman, Mildren stopped in Wichita Falls for the Oil Bowl and hig 15-9f-19 passes for 251 yards and four touchdowns in Texas’ 39-7 rout.  Mildren completed the first 12 passes he threw in the game.

Mildren set passing records at OU in his sophomore year, but as a junior in 1970, the Sooners got off to a struggling start.

That’s when coach Chuck Fairbanks switched to the wishbone offense, and history was made.

The Sooners racked up 5,196 yards on 813 rushes that season, finishing 11-1 by defeating Auburn in the Sugar Bow.

Oklahoma’s only loss came in the so-called “Game of the Century,” when top-ranked Nebraska beat the No. 2 Sooners 35-31 despite four touchdowns from Mildren–two rushing and two passing.

Mildren finished the season with 1,289 yards rushing–the most in school history for a quarterback–and 20 touchdowns before being drafted by the Baltimore Colts.