Late Bob Barry Sr. To Receive Prestigious Honor
DALLAS - The National Football Foundation announced on Thursday that legendary Oklahoma broadcaster Bob Barry Sr. will receive the organization's Chris Schenkel Award.
The award, first presented in 1996, is designed to recognize a sports broadcaster who has had a long and distinguished career broadcasting college football for a specific university.
"For more than five decades, Bob Barry played an integral role in the fabric of football in the state of Oklahoma," NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell said in a press release. "He possessed an unmatched passion for his job, and he captured the drama and excitement of the game for legions of fans for generations. Bob was truly one of the happiest men in college football."
Barry died on Oct. 30, 2011, at the age of 80. The Oklahoma City native broadcast in Oklahoma for 50 years after graduating from the University of Oklahoma and serving in the U.S. Air Force. His broadcasting career started in 1956 at KNOR in Norman, where he did play-by-play for high school games.
OU coaching legend Bud Wilkinson had sons on those high school teams and – impressed with Barry's work -- approached him about trying out to be the play-by-play voice for the Sooners. Barry got the job and called OU games on the radio from 1961-1972.
Barry moved upstate to call Tulsa games for the 1973 and '74 seasons before taking a job at Oklahoma State. He served as OSU's play-by-play voice until 1990 before returning to Norman to call OU games from 1991 until his retirement in 2008.
In addition to his role as a play-by-play voice, Barry worked in the sports department at Oklahoma City's KFOR-TV, formerly WKY-TV, where he held the title of sports director for 26 years before passing the role on to his son, Bob Barry Jr., in 1998. Barry continued to work for KFOR until his retirement in 2008.
During his illustrious play-by-play career, Barry was the voice behind a bevy of legends, including College Football hall of Fame players Tom Brahaney, Steve Owens, Greg Pruitt, Lee Roy Selmon and Joe Washington at OU, as well as, Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders at OSU. He also chronicled Hall of Fame coaches Bud Wilkinson and Jimmy Johnson.
He covered 10 conference title seasons, nine bowl victories and OU's national championship in 2000.
Barry, a 15-time Oklahoma Sportscaster of the Year Award recipient, has been recognized as a member of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.
A former board member of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, Barry was honored with the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters' Pioneer Award in 1993, the Oklahoma City Public Schools' Wall of Fame Humanitarian Award in 2009 and was recognized as a distinguished alumnus by OU's Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
"He was our eyes when we couldn't see; our voice when unable to speak; and our passion when we needed it expressed," Oklahoma Athletics Director Joe Castiglione said at the time of Barry's death. "For 50 years he made extraordinary contributions to help build our wonderful Oklahoma tradition, and did so while maintaining a positive outlook that always saw the best in others. We will be forever grateful for Bob Barry."
Barry is the third NFF Major Awards recipient to be announced for 2012, following ESPN Executive Chairman George Bodenheimer, who will receive the Distinguished American Award and Alabama athletics director Mal Moore, who will be honored with the John L. Toner Award for excellence in athletics administration.
The NFF Major Award winners, along with the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame inductees and the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, will be honored at the 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 4 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.