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FENIMORE, ROBERT (1925- )

It takes more than a list of honors and statistics to understand why Bob Fenimore ranks among Oklahoma's all-time great football players, although he has the honors and statistics. Born at Woodward, Oklahoma, on October 6, 1925, Fenimore was named All-American for Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University), and he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. He rushed for 2,299 yards and passed for 2,316 yards for 4,627 in total offense from 1943-46. That stood as a school record until Mike Gundy reached 7,749 in 1989.

It was the excitement of Fenimore's peak performances in national headline games, however, that established his name among Oklahoma football legends. Wearing number 55, he passed, ran, and punted as a tailback in Coach Jim Lookabaugh's single wing offense. He also returned punts and kickoffs, and he played safety on defense, setting a school record of eighteen interceptions.

The Sugar Bowl game on January 1, 1946, was billed as the "Battle of All-Americans," with Fenimore and undefeated Oklahoma A&M facing "Squirmin' Herman" Wedemeyer and St. Mary's University of California. Fenimore won the battle with 206 yards in total offense in a 33-13 victory. He also punted for a 53.2 average.

In the Cotton Bowl on January 1, 1945, Fenimore and Jim Spavital led Oklahoma A&M to 494 yards in a 34-0 victory. On October 28, 1944, Fenimore led Oklahoma A&M against an unbeaten University of Tulsa team that was in the midst of a string of five straight bowl games. Oklahoma A&M won 46-40. He ran seventy-three yards for a touchdown on the opening play and unraveled the Tulsa defense with his passing. He led the nation in total offense with 1,758 yards in 1945. He was third in rushing with 899 and eight in passing with 987. He ran for 241 yards against Arkansas that year. Despite a knee injury in his senior year, Bob Fenimore was the first player drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1947. After football he returned to Stillwater and worked for Mass Mutual financial services until he retired.

SEE ALSO: FOOTBALL, OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY, BARRY SANDERS, SPORTS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: "Bob Fenimore," Vertical File, Archives, Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Max Nichols

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