Saturday, July 18, 2009

Former Sooner and CBS Broadcaster Walter Cronkite Dies

Oklahoma Sooner Football Articles and Notes

Walter Cronkite dies at age 92; Called the '37 Sooners: Famed CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite passed away Saturday at the age of 92. Best known for his work during the Apollo moon landing, the assassination of JFK and reporting from the war in Viet Nam, Cronkite also called Oklahoma football for WKY radio in 1937. Cronkite, just 21 when he worked for the Oklahoma City radio station, later recounted that his early work on the broadcasts lacked solid preparation and knowledge. He remedied those shortcomings while calling Tom Stidham's first season as the Sooner coach. It also was the initial season for assistant coach Dewey "Snorter" Luster, who succeeded Stidham in 1941. Like Cronkite, the '37 team got off to a rocky start, winning just one of its first five games with a pair of ties. OU then rallied to win its last four. The two ties ended losing streaks to rival opponents. The 7-7 outcome with Texas, Cronkite's alma mater, halted a string of three straight Longhorn wins in the Red River Rivalry, while the 0-0 tie at Nebraska stopped a six-game streak of futility to the Cornhuskers. The '37 team concluded the season in Norman with a 16-0 win over Oklahoma A&M, and its star sophomore, Allie Reynolds. The victory so elated Stidham that he doled out cigars to the players during the locker room celebration. In the end, Cronkite was the voice for a winner. The team finished with a 5-2-2 mark, including a 3-1-1 record in Big Six Conference play. The University of Oklahoma is proud to count Walter Cronkite among the many fine broadcasters who graced the air waves to call Sooner athletics.(SoonerSports PR)

Did you know: It was in October 1937 WKY began a contract with OU to provide professional broadcasts of its football games. A young man, named Walter Cronkite, just getting started in broadcasting in Texas, was brought in to give play-by-play commentary. (Oklahoma Historic Society)
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