BISON FOOTBALL REFLECTIONS
1939-1940: The Final Seasons
Oklahoma Baptist University closed out Chapter 1 of its football history with two very good seasons, 1939 and 1940. The Bison were 8-2 in ‘39 and 8-2-1 and conference champion in ‘40 under the leadership of Coach W.W. Nicklaus who followed Eddie Hurt Jr. as the head coach.
Nicklaus, a Texas Tech graduate, came to OBU from Altus Junior College (now Western Oklahoma State) and brought with him a significant number of his AJC players. He also inherited a number of talented returning players from Hurt's 1938 team which was 7-3 and conference runner-up.
In Nicklaus' first season, the Bison defeated all of their non-conference foes-Ouachita Baptist (Ark.), Texas Wesleyan, and Southwestern (Kan.). They were 5-2 in league play, defeating Southwestern Oklahoma, Northeastern, Southeastern, Northwestern, and Oklahoma City. The Bison lost at East Central, 6-0, and at home to Central, 7-0. The Bison scored 181 points and gave up 32 points, shutting out their opponents five times.
First-team all conference players were guard Val Chaddick and halfback Douglas Kirkland. Second-team selections were tackle James McWhorter, guard Winifred Leese, and fullback Bow Mooney. Kirkland was also tabbed for the All Oklahoma Collegiate Team (All State).
According to The Shawnee Morning News, Kirkland accounted for 1,574 total yards for the Bison.
The 1940 Bison were 2-2 in non-conference play and 6-0-1 in conference action. Outside the conference, they defeated Connors State and Central Arkansas (on the road) but lost to Ouachita Baptist and Texas Wesleyan on the road. (The controversial Texas Wesleyan game was marked by the cancellation of three OBU touchdowns due to penalties.)
In conference play, OBU defeated Southwestern, East Central, Northeastern, Southeastern, Northwestern, and Oklahoma City. The Bison and the Bronchos of Central battled to a scoreless tie in Edmond.
First-team all conference players were quarterback J.C. Meeks, end Ross Mills, halfback Bow Mooney, and guard Val Chaddick. Second-team selections were tackle James McWhorter and end Elmo Kelly. These six players were named to the first team of the All Oklahoma Collegiate squad (All State).
The Bison scored 173 points and yielded 75, holding five opponents scoreless.
Shortly after the conclusion of the 1940 season, Dr. John W. Raley, OBU president, led the Board of Trustees to vote to drop football. Now, more than 70 years later, comes Chapter 2 as OBU returns to football action in 2013.