Book was long overdue
By Darl DeVault
Special to Guthrie News Page
“A book about the late great Port Robertson was long overdue. This story needed to be told. Several attempts to do such a book never materialized, and it was only after Edgar Frost agreed to take on the project did it actually come to fruition. A great many supporters of Port will be forever grateful for Frost’s dedication and the many hours he spent on this outstanding book.
Robertson’s contributions to the proud history of the University of Oklahoma cannot be overstated. The successes of OU athletics is well known, but because Port preferred to work behind the scenes and out of the limelight only those persons close to those programs were aware of his vital importance in those successes.
The influence that Robertson had on the lives of literally thousands of young athletes is almost folklore. You have to ask, how could one man have been so influential in the lives of so many young athletes as they matured into young men and prepared to go out into the world? BUT HE WAS! and Frost tells the story superbly.
Previous attempts to do a “Port” book did provide Frost with enough information to give him a running start on his book, and he was very diligent in his pursuit of all the information he could uncover about Robertson.
Frost carefully researched every story, every contact, and even every rumor. One contact would often generate another contact; one story would lead to another story, etc. He finally reached a point when he decided he had to stop interviewing and start writing if he was ever going to get the book written. I’m sure he now knows more “Port” stories than we do, and he never met the man.
I am so thankful this story has finally been told while many of us old timers are still living. Many are not. Frost told us at one point after the book had been published, that 11 persons he had interviewed during his research died and never got to read the book. I am sure that others have since passed.
We owe Frost a huge debt of gratitude for making this book happen, and for telling the story that needed to be told. Congrats on his selection as the 2014 Oklahoma Sports Historian of the Year.”
Said Dale Sullivan, Robertson coached three-year wrestling letterman
“I am highly pleased and grateful for Ed Frost’s masterful description of Port Robertson – the man, the coach and Athletic Department administrator. Were Port still with us, he would be humbly embarrassed and courteously denying that his impact has been as great and as positive as portrayed in the book. Port was seldom, if ever wrong, but in this case he would be.
Frost accurately, comprehensively and humorously describes Port’s enormous contributions to and leadership within the University of Oklahoma (OU) Athletic Department. He relates Port’s positive influence on OU scholar-athletes, and his contribution to the acceptance, if not strong support, among most of the University’s administrators and professors for OU’s winning, highly ranked Div. 1 athletic teams. Port’s supervision of athletes and his influence upon them laid the basis not only for national championships but, more importantly, for OU’s student athletes to value education, to study, and to graduate (many in challenging majors).
More importantly, as somewhat of a father figure, he instilled in most of his student athletes a high level of morality and a desire to serve and be successful in life. This is seen over and over in the anecdotes former OU athletes related to Frost.
Those of us who have bought and read the book are thankful to Frost and to the Oklahoma Heritage Association for writing and publishing it. This attractive volume allows Robertson’s influence on those of us who personally knew and benefitted from his direct guidance to be shared with a new generation. We are proud the Greathouse Foundation donated a copy to high school libraries throughout Oklahoma so more OU sports fans and young men and women today can read this book. Go Sooners!”
Said U.S. Ambassador (ret.) Edwin G. Corr, Robertson coached two-year wrestling letterman
“The last two paragraphs in the foreword I wrote for the book summarizes what Frost’s book on Port means to me. Port and my father were the two greatest influences on me during my life-time including Bud Wilkinson, Gomer Jones, Dr. George Cross, and my football teammates to name a few.
Books have been written by and about Bud, Gomer, Dr. Cross and numerous OU athletes, but I feel that OU fans through the ages will be missing a very important part of the great OU tradition if they don’t have the opportunity to read Frost’s book on Port. And, this means a great deal to those of us who knew and appreciate all Port did for them. Thanks again to Frost for writing the book.”
Said Leon Cross, Wilkinson coached three-year football letterman and All-American who became associate athletic director under Wade Walker
Harold Keith may have said it best in his book Forty-Seven Straight: The Wilkinson Era at Oklahoma:
“As usual, reports from the registry office documented the academic excellence of the squad motivated by Wilkinson and by Port Robertson, his academic counselor. Leon Cross, 1962 cocaptain and All-American guard, set the pace with a straight 4-point average (all A’s) in biological science.”