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Prelude to Greatness: Sooner Football in the 1990's Hardcover – September, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jay Smith was a starting offensive lineman for the University of Oklahoma Sooners from 1994 to 1999. He is Sports Marketing Consultant for Engelstad Arena at the University of North Dakota, and a contracted manufacturing engineer for Delphi Automotive Systems in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jim Willis, a former journalist for The Dallas Morning News and The Daily Oklahoman, holds the Hardin Chair of Excellence in Journalism at the University of Memphis, Tennessee. He has written seven books on the news media.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (September 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806135204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806135205
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,067,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"Prelude to Greatness" finally tells the inside story of the mess that was Oklahoma football under head coaches Howard Schnellenberger and John Blake. Coach Blake's regime gets a surprisingly favorable review, while Smith puts the overwhelming share of the blame for OU's decline on Schnellenberger's shoulders.
Those dark days, however, are behind us and I particularly enjoyed reading about the winning coaching style of current head coach Bob Stoops and his staff. Smith tells how an unfocused and unmotivated program filled with individuals is transformed into one unit, working to a common purpose and the book's most valuable lesson, for fans, students, businessmen or would-be athletes, is to be found here.
The last chapter is written specifically for high school students considering an athletic career at the major college level, and Smith outlines the sacrifices that must be made to both play sports and succeed in the classroom. While football hindered his academic efforts, Smith is still solidly in favor of big-time athletics for the right student-athletes. Sports minded youth should be encouraged to read this important book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Great read! Tremendous insight into college football from a players perspective. A must for any Sooner fan and for all high school football players considering playing for any NCAA Division IA football program. This is a book that will be discussed on the sports talk shows for some time to come, particularly if the Sooners continue at #1 in the college football rankings.
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By Mac Pro on June 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Contrary to what some of the reviewers have said about this book I found it interesting, informative and pretty much along the lines of what others were saying about the OU program during the time Jay Smith was part of the football team. I didn't see where he dwelt on himself nor did he blame anyone for his less than stellar career. Injuries and upheaval scuttled his high school dreams. This was, as he stated in the beginning, a diary . . . edited, of course, or six years would have taken up volumes. He seemed to be fair in his estimations of the four coaches he played under. Gibbs never had chance following Switzer, EVERYBODY knew Schnellenberger was a bad fit and never became a Sooner, Blake was a great guy whom everybody loved but he had neither experience or organizational skills to run a big time program. And I think we all knew when Stoops came that something magic was about to happen. Read the book and be reminded just how low the program had sunk. It makes our recent successes even more sweet. Thanks, Jay, I enjoyed the book.
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