few years ago, Bill Jacobs, Jake’s son,
sent me on loan, a scrapbook of articles about his father. Many of the articles were third generation
photocopies, and the quality was somewhat lacking. I scanned as much of the book as was doable
and saved them on my computer. I
returned the book to Little Jake.
Recently in talking to Owen ‘Bully’ Hewett, he told me that much of the
old archives at the athletic department were destroyed, and so the scrapbook
and the scanned files are all that remain of an era. Despite the poor quality of the files, I’m
having them put onto our website, so they will be held indefinitely. Anyone is free to copy them, and I hope
someone from the department will also do that.
You will find articles going back to 1913 and up to the 1950’s in this
collection. To you amateur historians,
enjoy these in this most brutal of winters.
associated with Oklahoma University Track and Field from 1913-1970 probably
personally knew Coach John Jacobs. They
knew him as a fierce competitor who covered a track meet like a warm blanket on
a cold day. As an athlete he competed
in the 120 and 220 yard hurdles, the high jump, and 4x110 and Mile Relays. At one time he broke the world record in the
highs, although I’m not certain the time was officially certified. He went into high school coaching in
Sherman, Texas after graduation and quickly became the head coach at OU. He spent something like 37 years on the job,
retired when Bill Carroll took over in 1959 and still came out everyday to
assist Bill and then J.D. Martin until his health declined.
all knew Coach Jacobs as “Jake”. When
Bill Carroll took over the coaching job at OU, I don’t think Jake missed a beat
as a coach. Bill was an organizer and
recruiter and a great pole vault coach.
Jake was the technician and imparter of wisdom. That was it for a staff. As I look at the current OU track website I
see that there are seven coaches officially listed. I’m sure today’s staff must wonder how
anything got coached in those days. The
fact is, I think we coached ourselves to a great extent. But despite this independence, there was
still a need for guidance, encouragement, and discipline for forty young men,
and the staff of two, provided that to us.
who was a product of those times has a Jake story. The things I remember were his
expressions. Bill put the workouts up on
the board each day but they were written in the syntax of Jake. If you were to run intervals hard and fast it
was “c & a”. My freshman year I
remember asking Jake what that meant. My
name is Brose , pronounced like ‘rose’ , but he called me Bozay. His reply about the terminology was, “Bozay, it’s like you’re being thrown out of
a bar, and the bouncer has you by the collar and the asshole (c & a) , that means you’re flyin’ “.
a runner got passed quickly or slowed in a race , it was ‘pulling calf
scientific study of athletics prior to the 1970 ‘s was quite limited. Wise men would expound on what they thought
were the limits of human performance.
These pronouncements appeared in the most auspicious of journals but were made without any scientific reasoning
behind them. Coaches were more like
philosophers in those days. And Jake
could philosophize with the best. But I
don’t recall him ever setting limits to our performance. Sometimes his sense of humor got a bit
twisted with his philosophy. He had a
way of deflating a swollen ego, if a kid started self aggrandizing over his
performances. He had me going one day
telling me I reminded him of a great runner of the 1930’s. Then he brought me back down to Earth. “Bozay, the only difference between you and San Romani is, you ain’t worth a s- -
t”. Now that sounds a bit cruel, but
from Jake it had us all laughing, and me realizing what a jerk I was.
the middle distance runner in those days, the long runs were almost a
punishment. No one knew exactly why they
were necessary, and our shoes were horrible for such work. But we did it anyway. Jake would give us math problems to do in our
heads to make the time pass more quickly.
Sometimes he would send me out on
a long run taking his bird dog with him for the exercise.
a coach many years later, I think some of Jake got imparted into the young people
I worked with. And through many of us
I’m sure, his spirit lingers on and continues to influence young people. What better tribute can I give him?
Brose, class of 1965