The extended Oklahoma football family is mourning the death of one of its own.
Barry Switzer confirmed to KWTV sports director Dean Blevins that John Blake has died at the age of 59. According to the former Oklahoma head football coach, Blake suffered a heart attack while he was out walking. “[H]e’d lost a lot of weight and was doing well,” Switzer told Blevins.
Blake was a defensive lineman for Oklahoma football from 1979-82. The Illinois native was also an assistant coach for the Sooners from 1989-92 before joining Switzer’s Dallas Cowboys coaching staff as defensive line coach. After his stint in the NFL ended in controversy, he was named as the OU head coach in 1996.
“I recruited him out of Sand Springs,” Switzer told Tulsa World. “He played for me and captained for me. He coached for me.
“I was close to John.”
As the head coach in Norman, Blake posted a 12-22 record overall. The Sooners were 7-17 in Big 12 play during Blake’s tenure. Several of his recruits, though, claimed the 2000 national championship under Bob Stoops, who replaced Blake as the Oklahoma head football coach.
After his first and only head job, Blake served as the defensive line coach at Mississippi State (2003) and Nebraska (2004-06). His last job at the collegiate level, as the line coach at North Carolina from 2007-10, ended in controversy as well.
Blake’s first coaching position was as the tight ends and wide receivers coach at Tulsa from 1987-88.