Billy Sims: Wikis


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Billy Sims
Statue of Billy Sims.Sculptor: Jim Franklin
Running back
Jersey #(s)
Born September 18, 1955 (1955-09-18) (age 54)
St. Louis, Missouri
Career information
Year(s) 19801984
NFL Draft 1980 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
College Oklahoma
Professional teams
Career stats
Rushing yards 5,106
Average 4.5
Touchdowns 42
Stats at
Career highlights and awards

Billy Sims (born September 18, 1955 in St. Louis, Missouri) is a former college football and NFL running back. He won the Heisman Award and the Davey O'Brien Memorial Trophy.


Early years

Sims grew up in St. Louis, but in the eighth grade he moved to Hooks, Texas, to live with his grandmother. In three years of varsity football at Hooks High School, he rushed 1,128 times (a state record at the time, currently second behind Robert Strait) for 7,738 yards, including 441 carries in 1973 (another state record at the time, currently tied for second behind Ketric Sanford). He continues to hold the state record for most consecutive games with 100 yards or more, 38 (1972-1974).

Football career


University of Oklahoma

In 1975, he was recruited to the University of Oklahoma by Barry Switzer. After injuries kept him out of the line-up for most of his freshman and half of his sophomore seasons (rushing for only 545 yards in two seasons plus one game of 1976), in his junior season he cut loose, picking up 1,762 yards on 231 carries for an amazing average of 7.6 yards per carry (160.1 yards and 10.9 points per-game) for the regular season. Including the post-season Sims had 1,896 yards, a total yardage school record that stood until 2004 when freshman Adrian Peterson tallied up 1,925. In 1978 Sims was awarded the Heisman Trophy, becoming only the sixth junior to do so. He was runner up the following season in 1979. He led the nation in rushing with 1,896 yards and had 22 touchdowns. He also became the first running back in Big 8 Conference (now merged to form the Big 12 Conference) history to rush for 200-yards in three consecutive games, and had four 200-yard games in a single season.

After losing to the University of Arkansas 31-6 in 1978, Sims led the Sooners to two consecutive Orange Bowl titles in three straight appearances. In the Orange Bowl following the 1978 season, he scored two touchdowns in a 31-24 win over the University of Nebraska. In 1979 against then-unbeaten Nebraska, who had the No. 1 rushing defense in the country at the time, Sims ran for 247 yards and helped the Sooners to a 17-14 win. In his final game as a Sooner, he helped defeat Florida State University, 24-7, rushing for 164 yards. He ended his career at OU with 3,813 yards; most of those yards came in his final two seasons.

Detroit Lions

Sims was the first overall pick in the 1980 NFL Draft. He spent five years with the Detroit Lions, making the Pro Bowl in 1980, 1981, and 1982. Sims led the Lions to the playoffs in 1982 and 1983 but they lost in the first round both times. Sims finished his career with 1131 carries for 5106 yards (4.5 yards per carry), and 186 receptions for 2072 yards (11.1 yards per catch). His career ended midway through the 1984 season when he suffered a knee injury in a game against the Minnesota Vikings. Sims remains a beloved former sports figure in Detroit, where his number 20 would be worn five years after his retirement by Barry Sanders.

Post-NFL years

After his NFL retirement, he filed for bankruptcy and divorced his first wife. Following his divorce, Sims moved back to Norman, Oklahoma, where he worked for a short period in the University of Oklahoma athletic department. He now serves as a vice president with AmericaCan, a non-profit organization, and as part owner of Billy Sims Barbecue. Sims also makes appearances for sports marketing firms.

Billy Sims BBQ was founded by Sims and Jeff Jackson, owner of Sports Fan-Attic sports memorabilia stores in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The restaurants are decorated with various pieces of OU and Detroit Lions nostalgia spanning the career of both Sims and other football greats. The restaurants were featured in the July 2007 edition of Sports Illustrated in an article about former sports stars who now own restaurants. All locations are in Oklahoma in Broken Arrow, Tulsa, Edmond, Duncan, and Davis, with ongoing renovations to open another in Sapulpa, Oklahoma

In 2007, a bronze statue of Sims was dedicated on the University of Oklahoma campus in Heisman Park, commemorating his 1978 award. The life and one half size statue was created by Sculptor Jim Franklin in his Studio in Perry, OK. The bronze was cast by the Bronze Horse Foundry in Pawhuska, OK.

He has enthusiastically tried to start the "Boomer! Sooner!" Oklahoma cheer immediately following the naming of the winner at the Heisman Trophy induction ceremonies of the two most recent Oklahoma Sooner winners, Jason White and Sam Bradford and held up a sign reading "Boomer" during the 2009 Heisman ceremony. Many in the media have criticized his antics as upstaging the winner. On December 16, 2008 he apologized to those upset by his behavior and said that he hoped his actions had not reflected poorly on the University of Oklahoma.[1] [2] He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995. A hero in his hometown of Hooks, Texas, there is a city road named Billy Sims Road and the local library wall is adorned with his photos.

Career statistics

  • High School (Hooks High School 1972-74, High School Coach: Jack Coleman)
    • Consecutive 100-yard games: 38 (state record)
    • Total 100-yard games: 38
    • Total points: 516
    • Carries-season: 441 (1973; 378 in 1974)
    • Rushing yards in a seasons: 3,080 (1973; 2,885 in 1974)
    • Career carries: 1,128
    • Total yards: 7,738
  • Collegiate
  • NFL
    • 3-Time Pro-Bowl selection
    • 32nd - NFL All-Time Rushing Yards Per-Carry (4.515)
    • 75th, along with Calvin Hill & Don Perkins, - NFL All-Time Rushing Touchdowns (42)
    • 92nd - NFL All-Time Rushing Yardage (5,106)
Preceded by
Earl Campbell
Heisman Trophy Winner
Succeeded by
Charles White
Preceded by
Ottis Anderson
AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
George Rogers


External links


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