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Watts gives OU football mural a face lift

from the Oswego Independent, 08/31/2005

Ted Watts and the OU Mural

NORMAN, Okla. -- Ted Watts, the nationally renowned sports artist from Oswego, has completed revisions to a massive sports art mural tribute to Oklahoma Sooners football with the addition of six award winning former football players. The updated mural will be unveiled this Saturday before the Oklahoma-TCU football game in the Legends Lobby of the Barry Switzer Center at Gaylord Stadium-Oklahoma Memorial Coliseum on the OU campus.

The new players featured in the mural are QB Jason White, the 2003 Heisman Trophy winner; CB Derrick Strait, recipient of both the 2003 Bronko Nagurski and Jim Thorpe Awards; LB Teddy Lehman, the 2003 Dick Butkus Award recipient; DT Tommie Harris, the 2003 Vince Lombardi Award recipient; OT Jammal Brown, the 2004 Outland Trophy recipient; and C-LB Kurt Burris (1951-1954), a class of 2000 College Football Hall of Fame inductee.

The complex and colorful mural measures 33’ x 9’-6” and with the additions now includes fifty-eight former Sooner football players, 14 Oklahoma coaches and more than 50 other graphic elements. Included among the notable personalities are OU’s three National Championship coaches: Bud Wilkinson, Barry Switzer and Bob Stoops; OU’s four Heisman Trophy winners: Billy Vessels, Steve Owens, Billy Sims and Jason White; and 25 other top individual national award winners; all of the Sooner coaches and players inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame; the Sooners NCAA record 47-game winning streak; the OU-Texas rivalry; career statistical leaders and much more.

For Watts, it is the second update of his original mural which was completed in December of 1998 while the Switzer Center was still under construction. The artist first updated the mural in 2002 to include the Sooners 2000 National Championship; current OU head coach Bob Stoops and three award winning OU players. The first revised OU mural was unveiled before the Oklahoma-Alabama football game on September 7, 2002.

Over the past 34 years, Watts has completed fifty-seven other paintings devoted to Oklahoma Sooners football. He is most famed nationally for painting all of the Heisman Trophy winners. The artist’s 71 portrait series is displayed in the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, IN.

Watts has completed two other murals in the past five years. A tribute to Texas Christian University Horned Frog football (2000) hangs in the John Justin Center on TCU’s Fort Worth campus and Watts’ mural honoring Wichita State Shocker baseball (2004) is on display at Eck Stadium on the WSU campus in Wichita.