John Blake Wiki – Biography
John Blake was a Former Oklahoma head coach football coach who had died Thursday morning at age 59. Blake’s death conforms in a tweet by KWTV sports director Dean Blevins. He served as the head football coach at the University of Oklahoma from 1996 to 1998. Blake was also the defensive line coach of the Buffalo Bills.
He became OU’s first Black head coach in any sport, signing a five-year contract. At 34, he was the youngest OU head football coach since Chuck Fairbanks took over at 33.
He has died at the age of 59.
Earlier Life and Education
Blake was born on March 6, 1961, in Rockford, Illinois. He was a 1979 graduate of Sand Springs, where Barry Switzer recruited him to join the Sooners. He served as the head football coach at the University of Oklahoma from 1996 to 1998. Blake was also the defensive line coach of the Buffalo Bills. Before that, he held the same position at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from 2007 until 2010, when he left amid a scandal over undisclosed loans and misleading NCAA investigators.
Though OU wasn’t successful under Blake as head coach, going 12-22 in his tenure as head coach, many of the players he recruited went on to be the foundation for the Sooners’ 2000 national championship under Bob Stoops.
Blake helped bring players like Roy Williams, Rocky Calmus, Seth Littrell, and Trent Smith to Norman.
The Sooners started 0-4 under Blake, their first four-game losing streak to start a season since 1961. But Blake’s first win as OU’s head coach was a memorable one, a 30-27 overtime thriller against Texas at Cotton Bowl Stadium, ended by James Allen’s 2-yard touchdown run.
After his playing career ended, Blake coached at Tulsa before returning to OU as first the defensive line coach and then the linebackers coach under Gary Gibbs, who replaced Switzer.
After three seasons as the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive line coach under Switzer, winning two Super Bowls, Blake returned to coach his alma mater.
He fired after the 5-6 1998 season. After his tenure at OU, Blake returned to coaching defensive line — at Mississippi State in 2003, followed by three seasons at Nebraska and three in North Carolina.
One game into his fourth season with the Tar Heels, Blake resigned amid an investigation into Blake’s relation with agent Gary Wichard. Blake was eventually given a three-year show-cause penalty by the NCAA and never returned to college coaching.
Wife and Children
He was married to Freda Blake. The couple had a son Jourdan Blake. his friend Switzer had a close relationship with Blake. When Switzer was named head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 1994, he lived with Blake and his wife Freda for the first four weeks until he got settled.
Cause of Death
Blake died on the morning of July 23, 2020, at the age of 59, after suffering from a heart attack while walking. Former Oklahoma head coach death news conforms as per a tweet Thursday afternoon from KWTV sports director Dean Blevins.
Sad news. John Blake has died. Coach Switzer tells me it was a heart attack while out walking. Says he’d lost a lot of weight and was doing well. Prayers w the former #Sooners HC and devastated family. RIP. @news9 @OU_Football
— Dean Blevins (@DeanBlevins) July 23, 2020