NORMAN, Okla. (KETK/KFOR) – He was a staple of the nineties Cowboys coaching staff.
Former Dallas defensive line coach John Blake, who later became the head coach at his alma mater Oklahoma passed away Thursday morning at the age of 59.
Reportedly, according to former Cowboys and OU head coach Barry Switzer, he suffered a heart attack while out walking.
After helping the boys win two super bowls, he became the first black head coach in any sport at Oklahoma.
While he didn’t have the greatest success on the field during his Sooner tenure just 12-22 from 1996-98, many talk about the impact he had on many people’s lives, and the legacy he left of truly caring for his players.
Blake is also credited with having recruited more than half of OU’s 2000 national championship team.
Blake made a name for himself as a noseguard for the Sooners from 1979-82.
After leaving the game, Blake took a job as an assistant coach in Tulsa before returning to campus to become OU’s defensive line coach in 1989. He was then the Sooners Linebackers coach from 1990-92.
He became well-known across the nation after joining the Dallas Cowboys and winning two Super Bowls as their defensive line coach.
After his time coaching in the NFL, he returned to Norman to became head coach. Following three losing seasons, he was then replaced by Bob Stoops.
Although his tenure as head coach didn’t result in a winning record, he is often praised for his strong recruiting efforts that led to Stoops’ early success. He was also the school’s first Black head coach in any sport.
“I join the entire Sooner Nation in mourning Coach Blake’s passing. His years of service to our University and Sooner football were critical building blocks to our program’s success and the impact he had on our student-athletes is indelible. My sincerest sympathies and prayers are with the Blake family,” said OU President Joseph Harroz, Jr.
“We are stunned and saddened by the news of Coach Blake’s passing. He was never hesitant in displaying love for his family, his players or how much he valued the honor of being a Sooner. His legacy as OU’s first Black head coach in any sport is incredibly meaningful and will live on forever. We offer our heartfelt thoughts and our prayers to his family. He was a Sooner through and through,” said OU Vice President and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione.
“The thing I’ve always heard about Coach Blake is how much he loved and cared for his players and how those feelings were reciprocal. That’s such a profound element of the coaching profession — developing bonds with players that extend beyond the field. Our program is very saddened to learn of Coach Blake’s passing and we extend our deepest condolences to his family. Everything I know about him is that he loved being a Sooner,” said OU head coach Lincoln Riley.
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