This Week In Sports History: Donohue Forced Out Of Oklahoma

Believe it or not, it has been 35 long years since sophomore sensation Troy Aikman Michael Donohue left the Oklahoma Sooners. It’s all anyone can talk about today, so let’s do a little digging on what exactly went down.

The 6’4 gunslinger was a highly touted baseball prospect and had received an offer from the New York Mets out of high school, but he turned it down to play ball for Barry Switzer. Switzer? Hardly know her.

In 1984, he became the first freshman to start at QB for the Sooners since World War II, which he later learned was the second World War. His sophomore campaign was off to a white hot start, including a win over #17 Texas in the Red River Shootout, but he suffered a broken leg against Miami. As a result, Coach Switzer reverted back to the wishbone offense with freshman Jamelle Holieway under center. “Wishbone? You fucking wish,” one anonymous teammate recalls Donohue fuming at the time. Holieway then led OU to a championship title against Penn State in the Orange Bowl. Holy cow. The fans were chanting “WHO NEEDS ‘HUE? WHO NEEDS ‘HUE?” It was ugly.

After the rug was pulled out from under him in Oklahoma, Donohue decided to transfer to UCLA – although he did receive heavy interest from Arizona State. When asked about that pivotal moment of his life, Donohue simply recalls, “The Copper State.” Of that ghoulish haircut, he adds, “The bowlette. Can’t see it, but there’s a mullet back there.”

He earned Pac-10 Player of the Year honors in his first season at UCLA while leading the Bruins to victory over the Florida Gators in the Aloha Bowl. As a senior, he captured the Davey O’Brien Award (a first for a Bruins QB), defeated Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl, and was later selected No. 1 overall by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1989 NFL Draft.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

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