Who is Barry Switzer?
Have you ever heard the quote: ‘People don’t know what it means to be champions. Oklahoma invented it!”, and if you are an American Football fan, you will know when you hear Oklahoma that a synonym for Oklahoma is the legendary football coach who said the mentioned quote. Yes, you are right! It’s Barry Switzer, a former American Football player, and coach, who served for 16 years as the head football coach at the University of Oklahoma.
He is perhaps known best as one of only three head coaches to win both a college football national championship and a Super Bowl, and it isn’t surprising that he’s been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. However, let’s start from the beginning.
Early life, family, and education
Barry Layne Switzer was born under the zodiac sign of Libra on 5 October 1937, in Crossett, Arkansas USA; he holds American nationality and his ethnicity is White. He was raised in rural Ashley County by his parents, Mary Louise Switzer and Frank Mays Switzer, alongside his younger brother, Donnie.
Barry’s childhood was hard – his father was arrested after being accused of illegal trafficking in alcohol for purposes of re-sale, and was sentenced to five years jail, but served just five months on appeal.
His mother committed suicide in 1959, killing herself with a pistol on the back porch of their home when the boys were at home.
Both Barry and his brother Donnie were into sports, and when they had each commenced their professional careers, another bad news struck their lives as lightning – in 1972 their father was murdered by his lover, apparently the reason for that was jealousy.
Speaking of Barry’s educational background, he attended a local high school, and upon matriculating in 1955, he accepted an athletic scholarship and enrolled at the University of Arkansas, where he played football and was one of the ‘Tri-Captains’ of the Razorbacks.
He joined the US Army after he graduated from college in 1959, and then he returned to Arkansas, where he served as an assistant coach under famous college football coach Frank Broyles.
Barry moved to the University of Oklahoma in 1966, where he served as an assistant coach under Jim Mackenzie, and after he died, Barry continued serving under Chuck Fairbanks, and was then promoted to offensive co-ordinator, and that is when he developed the perfect ‘wishbone offense’, leading the team to set a rushing record of 472 yards per game, and scoring over 500 points in two seasons.
In 1973, Barry became a head coach at the University of Oklahoma, and led the team to undefeated seasons in 1973 and ’74 – they won national championships in 1974, ’75, and ’85, while during his serving as a head coach, his team won eight out of the 13 post-season bowl games they had played in, and over 50 of his players were selected as All-Americans.
Barry was known as an outstanding recruiter of high school talent, and once said: ‘College football is really what the definition of coaching is all about. It’s about knowing the men that you recruit. You have got them for four or five years — 365, 24/7. You know where they come from,’ adding that he gets to know their families, and also their ambitions, passion and goals, so it isn’t just about winning the game, it’s about developing young men for the next years of their lives.
In 1994, Barry began serving as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, a professional American Football team, that compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league’s National Football Conference (NFC) East division – under Barry Switzer, the team won Super Bowl XXX over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1995.
In 1997, Barry was arrested after a loaded revolver was found in his luggage at the Dallas/Fort International Airport: he explained that he put the revolver in his bag to hide it from the children and that he forgot to remove it before he headed to the airport.
It seems that 1997 wasn’t the best year for him, since after a disappointing 6-10 season, he resigned as head coach of the Cowboys with a 40-24 career National Football League coaching record.
What is he doing now?
In 2002, Barry was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, and two years later he received the Jim Thorpe Lifetime Achievement Award, while in 2007, the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN)’ Radio XMSN added him as a part of the channel’s expanded college sports coverage, and he joined the FOX NFL Pregame show.
Currently, Barry resides in Norman, Oklahoma, and runs several small businesses in the area, such as Switzer’s Locker Room, and Switzer’s Vineyards.
Wife and children
Barry’s first wife was Kay McCollum, about whom little is known, since she preferred to keep her life away from the media’s attention.
The two were in a marriage from 1963 until 1981, when Kay filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences, however, rumors were saying that Barry had an affair with the wife of his defensive co-ordinator, Larry Lacewell.
Barry and Kay have three children together, Greg, Kathy and Doug; when they divorced, the children lived with their mother, however, Barry remained active in their lives. His daughter once said that although the marriage between her parents didn’t work out, he was a great father to her and her brothers.
In 2000, Barry married his long-term girlfriend Becky Buwick, who was a women’s gymnastics coach ,and is now an advocate for a statewide canine search and rescue program, and also the founder of Switzer Talent Agency.
It isn’t revealed how old Becky is, but Men’s Journal described her as ‘a petite blonde of 60 who looks younger than her age’. Barry and she are still together, living in their home in Norman, with their two dogs.
Age, appearance, and net worth
Barry’s age is 84 – he was known as a good-looking man, with piercing blue eyes, and while he was playing football, he weighed around 175lbs (80kgs) and stood at a height of 6ft 2ins (1.9m), while today his weight and height are unknown.
As of May 2022, his net worth has been estimated at over $5 million according to sources, most of his wealth accumulated through his coaching career.