Former Oklahoma running back Mike Gaddis died Monday at age 50, former Sooners coach Barry Switzer confirmed.
"First of all, he was a good man," Switzer told Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today. "He was a good person. He was raised by good parents. When you go into the home, you know what you get when you come out of there. And when you're a parent and you have a son who carried himself the way Mike did, you're very fortunate to have someone be a part of your team like that. I remember his smile and his Jheri curl hair."
"There are a lot of great intangibles that come from playing the game," Switzer said. "You learn mental toughness, physical toughness, discipline, you prepare to win, you sacrifice. You learn these intangibles that help you the rest of your life, but character is built by mothers or fathers, or a grandparent, or someone who teaches you core values in your formative years, a system of what is right and what is wrong.
"When you have a person like Mike Gaddis, who had that great core value system, that he was going to do the right thing whether anybody was watching or not, that doesn't happen by happenstance. He carried himself with pride. You loved to be around Mike."
Gaddis rushed for 2,622 yards and 27 touchdowns during his time at Oklahoma, eventually becoming a sixth-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings in 1991. However, he never played a down in the NFL.
A knee injury in 1989, which cost him the entire 1990 season, played a factor in his struggles to make it as a pro. After leaving football, Gaddis worked at an insurance business in Oklahoma City.