Jack Mildren dies of cancer

Former Lt. Governor Jack Mildren died Thursday night of stomach cancer. Sources report that family members confirmed Mildren’s death. It came just two weeks after it was reported the stomach cancer he had fought for two years had returned.  He was 58.

His death came as a surprise since he had been on the air in recent days doing sports talk shows in Oklahoma City.  He had been undergoing treatment at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Democrat Leader Danny Morgan released a statement on behalf of House Democrats regarding Mildren’s passing. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Lieutenant Governor Jack Mildren’s family tonight,” said Morgan, D- Prague. “Oklahoma has lost one its greatest ambassadors tonight. We will always remember his sports heroics, his accomplishments as a public servant and his dedication to his wife and children. Tonight we mourn the loss of a great Oklahoman.”


Larry Jack Mildren was born on October 10, 1949, in Kingsville, Texas.  He attended Cooper High School in Abilene, Texas, leading the Cougars to the Class 4A state championship game in 1967 against Austin Reagan High School. In one of the most memorable moments in Texas high school football history, with time running out and Cooper down by a single point, Mildren drove the Cougars to the Reagan one-yard line, only to be stopped short of the goal line on a quarterback sneak as time expired.

In football, Mildren is perhaps best known as the "Godfather of the Wishbone" going back to his quarterbacking days at the University of Oklahoma (1969-71).

Mildren set records in his 1971 senior season that have since been exceeded. The Sooners posted an 11-1 record, with the wishbone averaging a remarkable 472.4 yards rushing per game. Mildren set records for most rushing yards in a season (1,140; 1971), most career touchdown passes (25), and season passing efficiency (209.0; 1971). That same season, OU fell just short of a national championship, losing 35-31 in Norman to eventual champ the University of Nebraska in what was billed as the Game of the Century.

\Mildren was named both All-American quarterback and Academic All-American his senior season. He was also named the 1972 Sugar Bowl MVP after the Sooners’ 40-22 victory over the Auburn, a game OU led 31-0 at halftime.

After his collegiate days, Mildren joined the ranks of the pros for three seasons, playing defensive back for the Baltimore Colts and the New England Patriots.

In 1990, Mildren became Oklahoma’s 22nd Lieutenant Governor, a post he held until 1995. In 1994, he ran for governor, losing to Republican Frank Keating.

Mildren served as the Vice-Chairman for the Arvest Bank Group, and as a sports commentator for Jox 930 WKY.

Mildren and his wife have three children; Leigh Woody (married to Russell Woody), Lauren Ford (married to Adam Ford) and Andrew Mildren (married to Caroline Mildren). Leigh and Drew reside in Oklahoma City while Lauren and Adam reside in Washington D.C. He also has a grandson, Jacob Mildren Woody.

About the Author:
Mike McCarville has covered Oklahoma politics and government since he became State Capitol Correspondent for The Tulsa Tribune in 1966. Since, he has been a governor’s press secretary, investigative reporter, television station news executive, radio station program director and talk show host, and political consultant. In 1980, he founded The McCarville Report and it is the nation’s longest-running state political publication. In its online version, it has been called "The best political blog" by Dr. Keith Gaddie, pollster and pundit and "Oklahoma’s venerable McCarville Report" by The Arkansas Times.  McCarville, also a real estate investor and commentator for the National Rifle Association on NRANews.com and Sirius Satellite Radio, is a regular contributor to Tulsa Today.