Skip to main content

Legendary Oklahoma Basketball Coach Passed Away On Sunday

Billy Tubbs while head coach of TCU in 1997.

8 Feb 1997: Texas Christian Horned Frogs head coach Billy Tubbs looks on during a game against the New Mexico Lobos at the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas. TCU won the game, 80-59. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn /Allsport

Billy Tubbs, a longtime college basketball coach and later athletic director, has passed away. He was 85 years old.

Tubbs is best known for his time leading the Oklahoma Sooners men's basketball program. He landed the job after his first stint at Lamar, leading the program from 1980-94. He led the team to four Big Eight regular season titles, and two conference tournament wins.

Tubbs led Lamar to back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths, reaching the Sweet 16 in 1980. Oklahoma made the Big Dance nine times under Tubbs, including eight straight trips from 1983-90. In 1988, the Sooners lost to Kansas in the national championship. He also had an Elite Eight berth, and a pair of Sweet 16s with the Sooners.

He'd go on to coach at TCU for eight seasons, reaching the NCAA Tournament in 1998. He returned to Lamar for one final three-year stint from 2003-06, and served as the school's AD from 2002-11.

"It is with deep-rooted sadness we announced that our beloved husband, father, and grandfather, Billy Tubbs, passed away Sunday morning in Norman at the age of 85," his family said in a statement put out via Oklahoma. "He had battled a form of leukemia since being diagnosed in 2015. He died peacefully surrounded by family. "Though his passing represents a tremendous loss for everyone close to him, our family is comforted by the knowledge he lived an extremely spirited life full of outstanding accomplishment in and out of sports. Many are aware of his remarkable achievements as a basketball coach, but we will remember him for way more than all of his wins, conference titles and NCAA Tournament success. He was a fierce competitor in everything he faced, and that was never more evident than in his final days." Billy Tubbs finished his coaching career with an impressive 641–340 record, including a 333-132 mark at OU. Our best wishes go out to his friends and family, and all impacted by his loss. [

We are heartbroken to hear that legendary coach Billy Tubbs passed away this morning at the age of 85.

His family has requested that we share the following statement.

— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) November 1, 2020

">Oklahoma Basketball]