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OU football: Mike Gaddis, remembered as one of Oklahoma's most talented running backs, dies at 50

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Mike Gaddis

Former Oklahoma running back Mike Gaddis died at age 50 Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. He was considered one of the best running backs in Sooners history. 

Former Oklahoma running back Mike Gaddis has died at age 50, Barry Switzer told The Daily Monday afternoon. 

Gaddis, who played for the Sooners from 1988-90, was considered by Switzer one of the best running backs he ever coached during his over 20 years at Oklahoma. 

"Of all the running backs I've coached, the best runner was Mike Gaddis," said Switzer, who coached backs like Joe Washington, Billy Sims and Spencer Tillman. "He was recruited by everyone."

A graduate of Carl Albert High School in Oklahoma City, Gaddis shined at Oklahoma. He rushed for 2,622 yards and 27 touchdowns in three seasons with the Sooners. If it weren't for a knee injury in the 1988 Texas game, Switzer says he would have likely won the Heisman Trophy. 

Those who coached and played with him say he was one of the best players in OU history. 

"Smooth. Graceful. A gazelle. No one could get a good shot on him," said Jamelle Holieway, who played quarterback at OU from 1985-88. "It was a tragedy when he got hurt. Mike, man, he was just silky smooth." 

Gaddis was loved by his teammates. He was known as a caring individual who would do anything for his teammates, making his death a difficult for those who knew him.

"I’m really sad to hear about Mike’s passing," Rickey Dixon said in a message to The Daily. Dixon played with Gaddis during the 1988 season. "He was a really nice, down to earth guy who was fast and physical. A great athlete but a even greater man. I send my prayers and love to his family."

"Another good one gone. He's younger than me. Mike didn't have a bad bone in his body," Holieway said. "I'm overwhelmed with sadness to know he's not with us anymore... I'll always remember that smile and that damn Jheri curl."

For Switzer, 81, losing players he once coached hasn't come any easier. 

"Here I am, at my age, and I've got so many guys that I recruited and played for me that I've lost," Switzer said. "You hate to see it. It's tough. But that's the circle of life. He's one of many that I've lost.

"And he was a good one. Just a good man." 

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I joined The Daily in the fall of 2016 as a sophomore. I've covered the soccer team, both men's and women's basketball, as well as the football team for the past two years. I have been the sports editor since spring 2018.

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