Jacobs was honored as Track Coach of the Year in 1955
and is a member of the Helms Foundation Hall of Fame,
the old Oklahoma Athletic Hall of Fame and the Drake Relays
Hall of Fame.
He died June 3, 1978, at age 86. He was married to Daphne
Dodson and has two sons.
The Early Years
Jacobs began his era at the University of Oklahoma
in 1912 when they ran on horse tracks and touched
hands in relay races. Before his 46 season coaching
reign with the Sooners from 1922-1968,
Jacobs held the intercollegiate record in the 120
and 220-yard hurdles, high jump and broad jump and
won 16 first place honor with only one-second-place
outdoor teams won 19 consecutive duals and earned
a conference title in 1935. His indoor
teams swept the Missouri Valley and Big Six conference
championships, despite not having an indoor facility.
He developed six Olympians, including Oklahoma
Hall of Fame inductee, J.W. Mashburn. Actor Dennis
Weaver also trained for the 1948 Olympic national
tryouts under Jacobs.
first coached high school football in Oklahoma and
Texas before hired to coach at OU in 1922. His football
team in Sherman, Texas won the state championship.
a little info on John Jacobs from the 1964 Oklahoma
Track and Field Brochure)
a choice in high school between taking a gymnasium
class or going out for track, Sooner coach John
Jacobs chose the latter and now vitually makes his
home on the cinders and in the pits.
Jacob's 37-year tenure as Sooner
head coach 1922-59 is believed the longest of any
Sooner in any sport. The present outdoor track was
dubbed "Jacobs Field" in his honor.
Enshrined in the Helms Foundation
Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1957, "Jake"
is well known for homespun advice to his athletes.
"Don't stand too close to your instrument after
you follow through," he warns shot and discus
men. "Never look behind you. Nobody will be
back there anyway," he needles his distance
developed five Olympians. His teams of 1924-29 won
19 straight duals before Nebraska ended that streak.
In 1928 Jake's boys had handed Nebraska its first
dual defeat of all time under the coaching of Henry
"Indian" Schulte, whose name now appears
on the cup awarded to the Outstanding Athlete in
the Big Eight meet each season.
As an athlete, Jacobs tied the
world's high hurdles record in an exhibition at
Weatherford by wheeling 15.0 in the sand. He was
Southwest conference hurdles champion when the Sooners
competed in that league.