Blog Post FBA

Longtime Coach and Administrator Donnie Duncan Named FBA's 2018 Champions Award Winner

          One of college football’s most revered coaches and administrators, Donnie Duncan believed strongly in sharing.

          Sharing his time.  His knowledge.  His personality.  Above all, his capacity to make those around him better, whether it was on the practice field or, later, the athletic campus offices.

          Duncan is the winner of the FBA’s 2018 Champions Award, as announced today by FBA Executive Director Wright Waters.

          Duncan served on Barry Switzer’s Oklahoma coaching staff from 1973-78, as the Sooners compiled a 62-6-2 record.  In that time, Oklahoma won two consecutive national championships and eight Big 8 championships. 

          In 1979, he was named head coach at Iowa State, where he coached four seasons, 1979-82.  Both his ’80 and ’81 Cyclone teams were nationally-ranked.  His teams were 3-1 against Big Ten in-state rival Iowa, with three straight wins from 1980-82.

          “Donnie Duncan was a rare and unique person,” Waters said.  “I don’t know that he’s ever gotten enough credit for the incredible success Oklahoma had when he was on staff.  Those OU teams were some of the best ever in college football, and Donnie was responsible for a lot of that.”

          Duncan departed the sidelines for the bowl business in 1984, when he was named executive director of the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.  In 1986, he served briefly as Gator Bowl executive director before accepting the athletic director’s position at Oklahoma.

          He served in that capacity for 10 years, and his tenure was marked by great success in several sports.  In 1988, Oklahoma became the first school in NCAA history to have its football team play in a major bowl game and its men’s basketball team play in the national championship game in the same academic year.

          In 1992, the Sooners were one of only two institutions whose football team played in a major bowl, its basketball team qualify for the NCAA tournament and its baseball team earn a berth in the College World Series.

          Duncan was instrumental in the ’96 formation of the Big 12 Conference.  He served as Senior Associate Commissioner and Director of Football Operations until his retirement in 2010.  He was involved in every phase of Big 12 football, including regular season matchups, officiating, bowl games and television agreements.

          The Champions Award was instituted in 2009.  Previous recipients include  former SEC Commissioner Roy Kramer [2009], retired Pac-12 Commissioner Tom Hansen [2010], BYU coach LaVell Edwards [2011], Florida State coach Bobby Bowden [2012], AFCA executive director Grant Teaff [2013], NCAA executive Dennie Poppe [2014], ESPN ‘College Game Day’ commentator Lee Corso [2015], retired SEC Commissioner Michael Slive [2016] and Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer [2017].

          Duncan passed away at age 75 in March 2016 following a lengthy illness.  He is survived by his wife, Sally, to whom he was married 54 years, plus a daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren.



Doug Kelly


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