In Memoriam

John 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

 

 

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Coach John Jacobs
John 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 finish.

His 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 Sports Hall of Fame inductee, J.W. Mashburn. Actor Dennis Weaver also trained for the 1948 Olympic national tryouts under Jacobs.


He 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.

  (Here's a little info on John Jacobs from the 1964 Oklahoma Track and Field Brochure)
   Given 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 runners.

 Jacobs 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.


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