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Oklahoma Legal Oral History

Interviews with Oklahoma Legal Professionals


Daniel Gibbens was a professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. He received his B.A. from Yale, his J.D. from the University of Oklahoma, and his LLM from Columbia University. He was a retired Commander of the Naval Reserve, a law clerk for Chief Judge A.P. Murrah of the U.S. 10th Circuit from 1959-60, and practiced law at Fuller, Smith, Mosburg & Davis in Oklahoma City from 1960-1962. He taught at the University of Oklahoma College of Law from 1962-2005 and published in the areas of First Amendment religious freedoms and criminal procedure. He was a member of the Massad Commission, a 3-person select committee advising Cherokee Nation Council on their constitutional crisis, in 1997. From 1977 to his retirement, he served as OU's Faculty Athletics Representative for the Big 12 (and Big 8) and the NCAA and served as chair of the College Football Association's Television Committee that generated the antitrust litigation resulting in the U.S.Supreme Court's nullifying the NCAA's restriction of televised football games to three each week and only on Saturdays 468 U.S. 85 (1984). He passed away June 5, 2011.

If a researcher wishes to use the information gathered in this interview for uses other than educational or scholarly uses, they may do so without further permission from the estate of the interview subject. 


Below is an excerpt from Mr. Gibbens's interview and a link to download the full transcript.

KEK: So, who was the Dean that you initially worked for?

DG: Earl Sneed.

KEK: Okay, what did you think of your first year there?

DG: It was hard. And you have these stories that you’ve told too many times and I’ve told this story to new faculty people. One of the experienced faculty people at that time was George Frasier, the “Tiger,” because he was of the old style, interrogating people in class like Kingsfield, he was good at it, he really was. And I was one among many who thought he was a super teacher. One day in that first year I was down at the bottom of the stairs, I was coming back from class or going to class, and I ran into George and George said, “Well Dan, how’s it going?” And I said, “I think it’s going good but I never really feel like I’m fully prepared.” And George said, “Don’t worry about that, I’ve been doing this teaching work for ten years and I still feel that way.”

KEK: What was your reaction to that?

DG: It made me feel comfortable to just keep working at it, work hard, and do the best I could. There’s always more that you can do like when you’re writing an article, there’s always more that you can do, but you’ve got to cut it off somewhere. And, it’s still true with my teaching at age 75. This particular fall I’m doing some teaching at our continuing education center at OU that is for senior citizens, it’s called a Senior Seminar. I’ve never done that before. There are six sessions, each one is an hour and a half, and I finished the last one on Tuesday of this week. I do a handout for each session and I try to make sure the hour and a half is useful. But it’s my habit, which is not entirely pleasing to my wife, but I always have to cut off preparation, I’m never quite ready and I haven’t done all of the things that I want to do and I cut it off, and go and do the teaching. And so, I learned that from George Frasier, you never are really quite prepared.

Catalog Record

800 N. Harvey Oklahoma City, OK 73102 405.208.5271