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Coach’s Legacy Lives On

Scholarship Honors Parrack, Who Started OCU’s Basketball Prowess


To many, the definition of a life well-lived is not what one acquired or accumulated, but the impact one had on those around them. By any mea­sure, Doyle Parrack served this world a cut above the rest. 

Thanks to the Doyle Parrack Schol­arship, his life and legacy will continue to impact students for years to come. 

After a brief career in professional basketball, Parrack’s first coaching job came as the Oklahoma City Univer­sity head men’s basketball coach and athletic director. That was 1947. For the next eight years, Parrack took a small club program into membership with the NCAA, and he led the team to four tournament berths in what is now known as “March Madness.” 

Before leaving OCU for the Uni­versity of Oklahoma in 1955, Parrack mentored a couple of savvy players named Abe Lemons and Paul Hansen, who continued what Parrack started and lifted OCU’s program into one of the most storied in the country. 

It wasn’t just those two fellow legends who reaped the benefits of playing—and knowing—Parrack. Success on the court was just a small piece of what set the coach apart. Those who knew him best shared—and echoed—a genuine love and concern for his players. 

“At his funeral, there were a number of players whom he had coached, including a very large number from OCU,” said Parrack’s daughter, Linda Livingstone. “They shared so many stories about my dad, and the experiences they had playing for him. Those stories rarely had anything to do with the basketball or what they learned from him on the court. It was much more about the life lessons he taught them, and the way he helped them grow into productive citizens and young men who could make a contribution in society.”

Some of those former players raised money together in 2007 to name the clock tower at the Meinders School of Busi­ness in his honor. Along with the tower, they started a schol­arship to benefit the men’s basketball program. It began as an annual scholarship, but after significant contributions in the past year, the Doyle Parrack Scholarship is fully endowed and will be awarded to students in perpetuity.

Although Doyle Parrack was an Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) student-athlete and graduate, and later a coach at OU and OSU, his fam­ily was instrumental in fundraising for the OCU scholarship. That connection to OCU remained strong through the years. 

“Growing up, I remember a lot of sto­ries from my dad about his teams at OCU and his players,” said Jim Parrack, the coach’s son and a former OCU student. “What he was most proud of were the accomplishments of his ‘boys,’ as he called them. He was so proud of them and what they did—not just what they did on campus, but as men after they graduated.” 

In 1985, Doyle Parrack was inducted into the OCU Athletics Hall of Fame with a 137–71 record, four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and a third-place finish in the 1953 tourney’s Western Regional. In doing so, Oklahoma City defeated UCLA, coached by John Wooden, 55–53. Many more victories followed in the years at the two state schools, plus a stint with the Israeli National Team in 1972 and a two-year stint back at OU as the women’s coach from 1978 to 1980. 

No matter the travels, one undeni­able tie to Oklahoma City was always his wife, Charlotte, who bucked a trend among her brothers and sisters of attending Oklahoma A&M. She was elated to receive a scholarship and go to OCU. 

“As Doyle and I talked about our times at OCU, he would mention the boys he had brought in from small towns—boys who hadn’t really expected to go to college,” said Charlotte Parrack, who was married to Doyle Parrack for 56 years until his death in 2008. “They worked and made his reputation as a fine coach.” 

It was a reputation well-earned, and one that went both ways. So many of the players who learned and competed under Parrack made their own impact on others, strengthen­ing the legacy that began with their coach. How appropriate that long after playing and coaching careers have ended, the Doyle Parrack Scholarship will continue to provide a compet­itive advantage for OCU men’s basketball.

The Doyle Parrack Clock Tower on the Meinders School of Busi­ness


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