Wilkinson, Charles (Bud) B. | 1963
- Birth and Death Year | 1916 – 1994
- Induction Year | 1963
- Profession | Coach
- Oklahoma Connection | Wilkinson came to the University of Oklahoma in Norman as an assistant football coach in 1946.
- Hometown | Norman
Shortly after he was inaugurated as president of the United States, John F. Kennedy called Bud Wilkinson for a consultation in the White House and designated him as Special Consultant to the President on the fitness of youth.
“I would put Bud Wilkinson along with Will Rogers and Jim Thorpe in what they have done to bring national attention to Oklahoma. Bud was a great man.” - George Nigh, 1994
Charles Burnham “Bud” Wilkinson was born in Minnesota and graduated from Shattuck Military Academy in 1933. He received his degree in English from the University of Minnesota in 1937 and a master’s degree from Syracuse University in 1940. At Syracuse, he held the post of assistant, center and quarterback football coach, as well as coaching the golf and ice hockey teams until he entered the U.S. Navy in 1942. Wilkinson was discharged from the Navy in the fall of 1945, when he returned to Minneapolis to enter his father’s mortgage and loan business. The following year, he went to the University of Oklahoma in Norman as an assistant coach and became head coach of the Sooners. His were successful years for the football program, as Wilkinson lead the Sooners to three national championships, 14 Big Seven and Big Eight Conference titles and six New Year’s Day bowl victories while compiling record consecutive-victory strings of 31 games from 1948-1950 and 47 games in the 1953-1957 seasons. In the years following his time as coach at OU, Wilkinson ran for the U. S. Senate in 1946 and served four years as the chairman of the board of Lifetime Sports Foundation. He was chairman of the board of Planned Marketing Association in Dallas, Texas and was a founder and president of the Public Employees Benefit Services Corporation. Beginning in 1976, Wilkinson spent two seasons as head football coach of the St. Louis Cardinals. He also served as the pre-game analyst for the college football telecasts on ABC, as well as color commentator for the NCAA Game of the Week.