OU has had a number of great presidents over the years…from David Ross Boyd who began the greatness on the prairie legacy to George Lynn Cross, David Boren and now Joe Harroz. Putting Harroz on this auspicious list so early in his career may appear conspicuous, but I suspect we will look back a few years from now and whole heartedly agree that he belongs there.
Far too often in these situations a guy who gets the job may not be a committee’s first choice, but that that person will end up becoming the best choice. We are blessed that the other guy did not work out and that Harroz was still waiting in the wings.
As for OU Presidents, you must love George Lynn Cross who told it like it was to the Oklahoma legislature. He stated unabashedly that he wanted to create a university that the football team would be proud of. He also got the Big Red Machine rolling in the 50th’s by hiring Bud Wilkinson.
Of course, Sooner fans also must appreciate David Boren for restarting Sooner football twenty years ago by firing John Blake and hiring Bob Stoops. Boren was a great President, but he had his Achilles Heel. He insisted on taking care of OSU.
In terms of leadership style, Joe Harroz is a fac simile to Boren with one exception. He is going to take care of OU first. His decision not to consult with the OSU brass about our move to the SEC is a prime example of this fact.
The following statement by Joe Harroz about the SEC move tells us a lot about him…
“In the 130-year history of the University of Oklahoma athletics, this is a significant decision,” said Oklahoma president Joe Harroz. “In 2012, OU took time and thought about whether or not we should make a conference change at that time. In the end, we decided to stay…in the Big 12 Conference. So, what’s changed? And the answer is everything. The Big 12 [is] the last in line for media negotiations and being last in line has consequences. We sat back and we asked what’s important to the University of Oklahoma…The role of athletics plays a critical role in the life of a university. Windows open and opportunities can evaporate in a moment. We believe that joining the SEC will sustain our national caliber and traditions.”
It looks there may be a new sheriff in town…ya’ gotta love it.