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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Sources: Former Sooner head coach John Blake dead of apparent heart attack

John Blake

Former University of Oklahoma nose guard and head coach John Blake has died of a heart attack at the age of 59, according to various sources in Oklahoma and Texas.

Blake played nose guard for Barry Switzer for three seasons from 1979-82. He served as head coach for three seasons, and while his record was 12-22, he recruited well enough to set the table for the 2000 National team coached by Bob Stoops.

After his time as a Sooner, Blake enjoy a lengthy and productive career with assistant jobs at Tulsa and OU where he spent four seasons.

From there, Blake became the defensive line coach of the Dallas Cowboys, winning two Super Bowl rings in the process — including one under Switzer, who coached the Cowboys from 1994 to 1997. 

After three years in Dallas, Blake was hired as the head coach of his alma mater, becoming the first and only Black head coach of any sport in Oklahoma history.

Blake inherited a team that went 5-5-1 in its lone season under Howard Schnellenberger.

In three years, (1996-98) Blake would amass just a 12-22 overall record before he was fired after his third season. However, Blake recruited many of the players that made up the core of Oklahoma’s 2000 national championship-winning squad under Bob Stoops. 

Blake resurfaced at Mississippi State in 2003 and would go on to coach the defensive line at Nebraska (2004-06), North Carolina (2007-10) and for the Buffalo Bills (2016) before walking away from coaching. 

According to sources, including a Twitter post for Barry Switzer, Blake was out walking when he had a fatal heart attack

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