Charles "Bud" Wilkinson, a native of Minneapolis, was an outstanding player on the University of Minnesota's national championship teams in 1934-35-36. He went on to become one of the top college football coaches of the 20th century.
Wilkinson attended Shattuck Military Academy in Faribault, Minn., before enrolling at Minnesota. At Minnesota, he started as a guard. In his senior year he moved to quarterback. In his three years the Gophers lost only one game (a 6-0 defeat at Northwestern in 1936. Despite that loss the Gophers were voted national champions for the third consecutive year). As a senior he won the Big Ten medal given to the most outstanding senior in scholarship and athletics.
Wilkinson went on to become the most successful college coach of his era when he led the University of Oklahoma to 49 consecutive victories before the Sooners lost to Notre Dame, 7-0, in 1957.
Wilkinson first coached at Syracuse University, then joined Jim Tatum on the staff of the Iowa Pre-flight Navy training installation at Iowa City. Tatum was developing the new split-T offense, and Wilkinson (as an assistant) and Tatum took the formation with them when Tatum became the head coach at Oklahoma.
The formation had a major impact college football. Wilkinson used it after he became the head coach at Oklahoma in 1947 when Tatum left for Maryland. Wilkinson is also credited with being the first coach to use the no-huddle offense.
In 18 seasons as the Oklahoma coach, he had a 145-29-4 record with 14 conference championships and three national championships (1950, 1955, 1956).
"I've only known one genius in my lifetime. His name was Bud Wilkinson," former Oklahoma quarterback Eddie Crowder told The Associated Press in 1994.
After coaching, he worked for Presidents John Kennedy and Richard Nixon. He was the first director of the President's Council on Physical Fitness, which was created by President Kennedy in 1961.
Wilkinson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1969.
Charles "Bud" Wilkinson
Teams: Gophers, U. of Oklahoma.