OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- The night was meant to recognize college
football's top defensive back, but the honoree shared the spotlight
with a tribute to former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer.
Monday's Jim Thorpe Awards Banquet recognized Derrick Strait,
who started in 53 games for Oklahoma, more than any player in team history.
Strait, who was introduced by current Sooners coach Bob Stoops,
thanked various people for the honor, including Switzer for helping
establish the school's rich sports heritage.
But he saved his biggest thanks for his mother, Brenda.
"I'm a strong person," Strait said to her. "Thanks for being
strong for our family."
Former Oklahoma athletic director Donnie Duncan agreed to present
Switzer the Lifetime Achievement Award, skipping out on his 42nd
wedding anniversary Monday night.
Sally Duncan jokingly told her husband, "You love Barry more than me.
"Yes," said Donnie Duncan, "but I love you more than Billy [Tubbs]."
Duncan, now the Big 12 associate commissioner, spoke of the
impact Switzer has made on others.
"He made an impression. He went into homes that had no hope and
gave them hope. He lifted people," Duncan said.
At Duncan's request, two of Switzer's three children, Doug and
Kathy, joined 1978 Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims on stage.
Switzer spoke of love of his players, joy at beating Texas then
and now, and how Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Tulsa had successful