I recently saw the movie Appaloosa, starring Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen and Renee Zellweger. Its a great movie (not for kids). Not only did Ed Harris star in this great western, but he directed, co-wrote and produced it. This is why Mr. Harris would be the best person to tell Vernon L. Parrington's story.
Mr. Parrington was OU's 2nd football coach from 1897 to 1900. I thought he was the first coach but that was Jack Harts in 1895, with no coach in 1896.
Mr. Parrington was hired to be an English Professor. When he arrived he was told they also needed a football coach and so this Harvard man became one of the winningest coaches in OU history. Can you imagine getting off the train in dusty Norman, Oklahoma and being told by the president of the school that you need to coach football as well as teach English. You have to always beat Texas, win the Big 12 every year, have least three Heisman Trophy winners and as many Nat'l Championships. Oh, that's what Bob Stoops was told.Anyway, this is Parrington's description of his arrival to Oklahoma, "A searing wind blew great dust clouds from the southwest as I stepped off the train and started for the University. I passed through a stretch of burnt-up, slovenly village, and out along a quarter mile of plank walk -- the very nails of which were partly drawn out by the heat -- and at last came to the University grounds, a small patch of brown prairie with a single red brick building topped off with a wartlike cupola."
Not only did Parrington coach he also played some games. He won his first game against Kingfisher College with a pro baseball player, a Chickasaw Indian, a few farmers and some students. It was a wild game. I have a link below to Bruce Brown's article about Parrington.
Parrington's first love was poetry and the Bible, which according to Brown's article he studied intensively while at OU. Make sense. Later he became a Pulitzer Prize winner with his book Main Currents of American Thought.Vernon's story needs to be on the big screen and Ed Harris should win an Oscar for telling it. Have a great day, Territory Mom http://www.astonisher.com/archives/parrington.html http://www.soonersports.com