Dear Jay, Love Dad by Jay Wilkinson
Bud Wilkinson's Letters to His Son

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It would be interesting to know what discussions Bud and his son had about all this. But they aren't in the letters...
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College football fans need no introduction to Bud Wilkinson, but few of them know the great University of Oklahoma football coach as a devoted father. In Dear Jay, Love Bud, Jay Wilkinson, Bud’s younger son, shares forty-seven letters his father wrote to him while he was in college and graduate school. Spanning the early to mid-1960s, these letters reveal Bud’s deep love for his son, as well as the philosophy and values that led to his remarkable success in sports and in life.

Beginning with the first letter Bud wrote when Jay left home, this collection shows a father guiding his son toward his own path while stressing the importance of service to others. The embodiment of the scholar-athlete, Bud mixes encouragement with intellectual discussions. When Jay reads American philosopher William James for a class at Duke University, his father, a serious student of literature, reads the book, too, and uses its insights to help Jay deal with the challenges of his freshman year. Bud writes about his own challenges, as well, including his debate over whether to accept the Kennedy administration’s invitation to head the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. Jay’s comments about each of these letters provide context and further insight.

By the time Jay becomes a graduate student at the Episcopal Theological School, the correspondence turns toward religion and politics, as Bud reflects on the philosophical issues of the day and on his unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in 1964. His belief that the greatest leaders are not always the most popular made him an unlikely politician even then, but a wonderful role model and interlocutor for his son. Bud’s thoughts on ethics in business and politics are as inspiring today as when he wrote them a half-century ago.


About Jay Wilkinson

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Jay Wilkinson, son of University of Oklahoma coaching legend Bud Wilkinson, was a standout football player at Duke University. During his senior season in 1963, he earned All-American honors, was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, and finished eighth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy. After graduation from Duke University in 1964, he chose to forego professional football, instead pursuing a divinity degree which he received from the Episcopal Theological School in 1967. After spending several years in public service, he worked in executive management in the financial services industry for 37 years. Recipient of the NCAA’s prestigious Silver Anniversary Award, Jay today is a noted motivational speaker. With four children and seven grandchildren, he and his wife Rita reside in Oklahoma City.á He is the author of Bud Wilkinson: An Intimate Portrait of an American Legend. Mike Krzyzewski was born on February 13, 1947. He graduated with a B.S. degree from West Point and served five years as an officer in the United States Army from 1969 to 1974. He held coaching positions at Indiana University and West Point before becoming the head coach of the Duke Men's Basketball Team in 1980. He is a 12-time National Coach of the Year award winner and in 2001 he was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame. He was the head coach of the USA Basketball Men's Senior National Team program for 2006-2008.
Published January 3, 2012 by University of Oklahoma Press. 207 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Religion & Spirituality, Sports & Outdoors, Literature & Fiction, Parenting & Relationships, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction
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WSJ online

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Reviewed by Gregg Easterbrook on Feb 13 2012

It would be interesting to know what discussions Bud and his son had about all this. But they aren't in the letters...

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