Tubbs hoped for more at Oklahoma

Monday, August 21st 2006, 2:30 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Billy Tubbs won more games at Oklahoma than any basketball coach in the school's history. He left with only one goal he hadn't been able to reach.

But that one unfulfilled dream still bothers Tubbs to this day.

``I thought we overachieved for a little while but I was disappointed that we really didn't do more. I thought we would do more,'' Tubbs said Monday before being inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. ``We accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish except winning the national championship.''

Tubbs had a 333-132 record in 14 seasons at Oklahoma and led the Sooners to the postseason in 13 straight seasons. During a run of eight NCAA tournament appearances in a row, Tubbs' Sooners made it as far as the national championship game in 1988. Kansas won that game 83-79.

``Going to the Final Four has to be one of my favorite memories, going to the finals of the NCAA, but there were a lot of other good wins,'' Tubbs said.

Tubbs also recalls back-to-back wins against Missouri and Kansas, with both victories coming when the Big Eight foes were ranked No. 1. That lifted Oklahoma to the top spot in the nation.

The early years, before Oklahoma became a national force, also remain fond for Tubbs, who is now the athletic director at his alma mater, Lamar.

``When we were building that program, it was so much fun. It was a lot easier to build than it was to maintain,'' Tubbs said.

Twelve years after Tubbs left, Oklahoma's run of consecutive postseason berths is still intact at 24, the longest such streak in the nation. When Jeff Capel coaches the Sooners' season opener against Norfolk State in November, he'll be only the second coach to patrol Oklahoma's sidelines since Tubbs' departure.

He'll face a similar challenge to what Tubbs faced, building a successful basketball program at a school where football is king. The Sooners were five years removed from back-to-back football titles under Barry Switzer when Tubbs took over in 1980. Capel comes in six years after Oklahoma's 2000 football championship.

``It's a special situation ... ,'' Tubbs said. ``I was at every game while I was the basketball coach there and really supported them. Barry was always really, really good to me. He went out of his way a lot of times to help me, and I tried to help him whenever I could.''

Tubbs and Switzer were reunited Monday night before the induction ceremony, sharing a handshake and posing for pictures amid their conversation.

Switzer was one of the presenters for former Sooners tight end Keith Jackson, a member of Oklahoma's 1985 national championship team. Jackson went on to play nine seasons in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins and Green Bay Packers. He was with the Packers when they won Super Bowl XXX in 1996 and retired two months later.

Also inducted were former Oklahoma State golfer Bob Dickson, who won two titles on the PGA Tour and one on the senior tour, and Tulsa native Jack Zink, owner of the cars that won the Indianapolis 500 in 1955 and 1956.