|Birth Date/Place:||June 6, 1939 in Grayson County, TX|
|Death Date/Place:||July 25, 2022 in Norman, OK (age 83)|
OU Football legend Leon "Old Rugged" Cross passed away July 25, 2022, after a life dedicated to God, Country, and the University of Oklahoma. Leon played football under Coach Bud Wilkinson from 1957 - 1962, and served as co-captain of the 1962 Big 8 Championship team and earning All-America honors at guard, playing both the offensive and defensive lines. He was voted the Big Eight outstanding lineman that same season by United Press International. He was loved and respected by his coaches and teammates and the feelings were mutual. Leon and most of his teammates remained friends for life.
After graduating, he served in the US Army as an assistant coach at West Point before returning to OU as defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator from 1966-1972. In 1973, he became an assistant athletic director and at the time of his retirement in 1991, he was Associate Athletic Director. In his position as athletics administrator, Cross worked with the athletics booster clubs and as faculty sponsor for the Ruf Neks. He worked on several fundraising programs and numerous special projects. He assisted on stadium expansion projects, including the original 1980 south end zone expansion of Memorial Stadium, the construction of L. Dale Mitchell Park, and the softball and gymnastics facilities and rebuilding of the track and field facility. He also helped establish the Athletic Scholarship Donor Program and an athletic scholarship endowment program in the fall of 1980. Leon worked was a positive ambassador for the athletic department. He loved his job and he loved OU!
Following his retirement, Leon spent much of his time enjoying the great outdoors in the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico while continuing to be an important supporter and advocate for OU athletes; particularly, men and women gymnasts. Throughout his life and career, Leon sought to foster and support spiritual development and faith in God among athletes through his active leadership in the OU Chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. A member of Christ's Church of Norman, Leon lead a life of purpose, driven by his love for God and his desire to help people.
A resident of Norman for more than 60 years, Leon was born in Grayson Co. Texas June 6, 1939 and graduated from high school in Hobbs, New Mexico where he excelled as an athlete, a scholar, and a leader. One of 5 children, he was the first to graduate from college in his family. He is preceded in death by his parents, Virgil and Eva Cross, brothers, Thomas and James (Ruth-living) Cross, sister, Iva Helen and brother-in-law, Harold Lee Mountcastle, and nephews, Bud Mountcastle and Doy Cross. He is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Virgil and Lynda Cross of Hobbs New Mexico; nieces, Cindy (Alan) Hayes, New Iberia, LA and Cyndy (Pete) Robinson, Harrah, OK; nephews, Jim Cross, Tickfaw, LA, Randy (Sheryl) Cross, Rio Rancho NM, David (Cindi) Cross, Englewood, CO, Jerry (Amy) Cross, Westminister, CO; numerous great and great grand nieces and nephews, and countless life-long friends. He was a humble servant who made a difference in the lives of all who knew him.
Respecting Leon's wishes there will be no services; however, please share your condolences and memories with Leon's family by posting on the online obituary or the Facebook group "Family and Friends of Leon Cross." You may also wish to honor Leon by donating to the OU Foundation D. Leon Scholarship (#40870) for men and women's gymnastics, OU Fellowship of Christian Athletes, or Christ's Church of Norman.
- A (C) indicates that the player was a captain for that season (named before each game in 1982, and 1995 through 1998).
- Related To refers to other OU athletes only.
- Calculations for career totals will be skewed if the season totals are incomplete.