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John Blake


Season   Tackles UT-AT TFL-Yds Sacks-Yds PBU
1979 * FR 6 3-3
1980 * SO 43 25-18 5.0-25
1981 * JR 49 24-25 2.0-4
1982 * SR 43 21-22 3.0-13
Totals 141 73-68 10.0-42 0.0-0 0

* Stats have not been updated with bowl stats or validated that they already are bowl-inclusive.

Roster Info

Season Class # Pos Ht Wt
1979 FR 36 FB/NG 6-0 220
1980 SO 90 NG 6-0 250
1981 JR 90 NG 6-0 255
1982 SR 90 NG 6-0 255

Personal Info

First Name: John
Middle Name: Patrick
Last Name: Blake
Common Name:
Hometown: Sand Springs, OK
High School: Page
Birth Date/Place: March 6, 1961 in Rockford, IL
Death Date/Place: July 23, 2020 in Dallas, TX (age 59)
Related To:

John Fitzgerald Blake, in his 59th year, "Scored a Victory, with Jesus" on Thursday morning, July 23, 2020 in Dallas, Texas.

First Quarter

On a bright Monday morning on March 6, 1961, in Rockford, Illinois, a bundle of joy entered the lives of Dorothy Haley-Blake and James Blake Sr. His life was marked for greatness when his parents chose to name him after beloved president John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and John Fitzgerald Blake would come to embody his namesake’s courage, charisma, and belief in justice and equality for everyone.

An Extraordinary Life and Legacy: The way John lived— in service to God, a man of integrity, an incredible family man, a legend guided by love. John’s enthusiasm for life and his love for others was infectious. Throughout his life, he showed that he possessed a true servant’s heart. He took the time to pray with anyone who needed it including strangers, he shared the glorious word of God, and gave countless gifts anonymously, always more interested in making people smile and feel loved than he was in getting credit. As his blessings in life grew, so did his generosity. He believed in and lived the scripture, “To whom much is given, much is required.” From the moment you encountered John, you knew you were in the presence of greatness. Always wearing a smile that reflected the love and joy in his heart, he shone with a light and a presence that was beyond charismatic—it was magnetic. He was anointed in the way he could make everyone he encountered feel special, and he used that God-given talent to serve others daily.

Second Quarter

John’s family relocated to Sand Springs, Oklahoma in 1969, where his mother and father brought up he and his five siblings, in a loving home. As the second oldest of his siblings, John was a natural leader. Blessed with a sharp mind, incredible physical abilities, and an unstoppable work ethic, John stood out at home and at school. Whether the subject was sports, cooking, or dancing, his competitive spirit was always there. He would spend hours studying dance moves while watching Soul Train, a true talent once he hit the dance floor, his facial expressions matched his confident moves as he floated light on his feet and smooth like butter.

In high school, John was known not only as an outstanding athlete and student, but as a masterful jokester. Throughout his life, he began every day thinking about how he could make people laugh and bring joy to their lives. His hilarious, catchy, infectious “Booisms” started long before he got the nickname “Boo.” However, it was John’s athletic talent and passion that shaped the direction of his life. Throughout high school, he was as an exceptional athlete. As a senior he won countless awards and honors, including MVP of the Oil Bowl and First Team All-State in football. He was awarded a scholarship from the University of Oklahoma under the legendary coach Barry Switzer. At OU, John continued to excel. Playing the position of nose guard, he was instrumental in helping the team win two Big Eight Titles and two Orange Bowls. He was named team captain his senior year and earned the respect of coaches, fans, and his teammates for his tenacious play and infectious positivity.

Third Quarter

While at OU, John began working with the defensive line as a student assistant and earned a national championship ring. More important, during this time he earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations and recreation. This was a perfect fit because his enthusiasm for building relationships with people made his next move an obvious one: Coaching.

John’s first full-time assistant position was at the University of Tulsa, where he coached the tight ends and wide receivers. He returned to his alma mater as the Sooners’ defensive line coach, and then served as linebacker’s coach. It wasn’t long before John earned a reputation among his players for being one of the easiest people to talk to. They all felt that he truly cared about them. Everybody knew John as a coach who loved and respected all of his players and brought out the absolute best in them. He was always positive, genuine, loved recruiting, and had a passion that you could feel radiating from him.

In 1993, Hall of Fame coach Jimmy Johnson hired John to join the Dallas Cowboys as defensive line coach. That year Dallas won Super Bowl XXVII.

For John, the highlight of that season was marrying the love of his life, Freda Harris. When he saw Freda, “Celebrating the Life and Honoring the Legacy of...” John Fitzgerald Blake it was love at first sight. Using the classic Blake charm, it didn’t take long for him to steal her heart, and the rest was history.

Life continued to unfold in a way that was almost too blessed to believe…after winning Super Bowl XXVII the Cowboys won Super Bowl XXVIII. In 1994, Coach Switzer became the Cowboys’ head coach and John was reunited with his mentor.

Still, somehow, life got even sweeter when, in 1996, John landed his dream job. At just 34 years old, he was named head football coach of the University of Oklahoma. He made history as the first African-American coach of any sport at OU. John went to work recruiting the best players from all over the U.S. to come to Oklahoma and help improve the Sooner football program. Known as one of the most gifted recruiters of all time, during his three year tenure, Coach Blake brought some of the best players in the program’s history. Many of John’s recruits were an integral part of OU’s 2000 National Championship team.

Despite the accolades and achievements, John acquired his most cherished title—father— when he and Freda welcomed Jourdan Fitzgerald Blake into this world. Even with the demands of being head coach, John made sure Freda and Jourdan always remained the center of his universe.

Fourth Quarter

The years that followed unfolded with one joy and accomplishment after another. John returned to the sidelines by becoming the defensive line coach at Mississippi State University, working with Hall of Fame Coach Jackie Sherrill. After one season he took a similar role at Nebraska, he was widely regarded as one of the best college recruiters in the nation. That skill paid big dividends during John’s tenure at Nebraska, as he was credited with being largely responsible for the Huskers signing the nation’s fifth-ranked class in 2005— the school’s top-ranked class in the modern recruiting era.

Those very accomplishments led to John and his family relocating to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he assumed the position of defensive line coach. Shortly, after leaving North Carolina, he joined the staff as defensive line coach with the Buffalo Bills under head coach Rex Ryan.

After taking a break from professional football, John enjoyed his newfound freedom. He was able to watch with joy and gratitude, as his son Jourdan played two years at quarterback for Princeton High School in Princeton, Texas. Jourdan led the team to its first district championship in more than 30 years in 2012 and 2013.

Given John’s extraordinary gifts and background in sports, it was inevitable that school officials would see a need they felt could only be met by his talents—and equally inevitable that John would say “yes” to inspiring young people and being part of the sport he loved. He went from watching his son play games to a few years later assisting the Princeton High School football program and working on staff. At the high school, John was able to do what he loved best: help others. He took great pride in guiding and motivating students to fulfill their potential. The young lives he touched during his time at Princeton High School will be forever changed for the better.

He went from guiding and coaching at the school to mentoring young men at their place of worship, One Community Church in Plano, Texas. Cataloging the lives John touched would require many more pages. Everyone who worked with him and learned from him was impacted by his greatness. To know him was to love him. John Fitzgerald Blake’s character and work both on and off the field created a legacy of honor for decades to come. “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”—Jackie Robinson

John is preceded in death by his father James Blake Sr., his Grandmother Virgia Blake, his Grandfather Lumas Blake, his Sister-in-law Sonya Blake, his Niece Brianna Blake. He leaves to cherish his memory: his wife Freda Blake, and son Jourdan Blake; his mother Dorothy Blake; his sisters Sandra Lyons (Charles), Cynthia Rentie (Caesar), Sylvia Blake; brothers Andre Blake, James Blake Jr.; nieces: Shauntoria lyons, Shalonda Lyons, Shalena Lyons, Shamika Lyons, Mykah Davis, Kory Lyons Shaleeka Roberts, Sarah Hamilton Carra Rentie, Chloe Rentie, Ty’rell Davis, Zion Davis, And Olivia Davis; nephews: Clarence Pitts Jr., Sean Pitts, James Adkins, Dennis Veals, Jayqan Jacob Scales, Jah’cori Isaac Hammond, Javonni Hammond, Anthony Lyons, James Blake 3rd (JT), Zachary Blake and a host of other relatives and friends.

A Celebratory Worship Service honoring the life of Coach John Blake will commence on Saturday, August 8, 2020 at High Noon, in the most holy sanctuary of the Friendship West Baptist Church, 2020 West Wheatland Road in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Frederick Douglas Haynes, III is the gracious host Pastor, with Pastor Caesar Rentie and Pastor Henry Nelson, officiating.

You may visit Coach Blake on Saturday at the Church, beginning at 10:00 AM until 11:45 AM.

ALL persons attending the services are kindly required to wear masks and observe Social Gathering Guidelines, please.

You may also visit Coach Blake on Sunday, from 1:00 PM until 6:00 PM in the Charles Page High School Fieldhouse, 500 North Adams Road, Sands Springs, Oklahoma and on Monday morning, beginning at 10:00 AM until 11:30 AM in The All Faith's Chapel at Keith D. Biglow Funeral Directors, Inc., of Tulsa. The funeral procession to the Cemetery will depart from the funeral home at 11:45 AM.

Coach Blake will rest in the Green Acres Memorial Gardens, 126th Street North and North Yale Avenue, Skiatook, Oklahoma.


  • A (C) indicates that the player was a captain for that season (named before each game in 1982, 1995 through 1998, and 2022 to present).
  • Related To refers to other OU athletes only.
  • Calculations for career totals will be skewed if the season totals are incomplete.