“Coach” Gene Thrailkill retired in June 2001 after 30 years as Director of Bands at The University of Oklahoma. In 1996, he was appointed Regents Professor, which is the highest faculty award given at the University of Oklahoma. He is also an active member of Kiwanis and is a past President of the Norman Kiwanis Club.
A native of Washington, Illinois, Thrailkill joined the Oklahoma faculty in 1971 and, along with his duties as coordinator of the eight bands in the OU program, served as Professor of Music. At his retirement, more than 600 students were enrolled in the total band program at OU — more than triple the enrollment in 1971.
Thrailkill came to Oklahoma from Ohio University at Athens where he had been Director of Bands from 1967-71. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Music degree from Ohio University. Prior to 1967, he served as director of instrumental music for the New Lebanon (Ohio) Public School System.
A recipient of numerous student, administrative and professional awards during his tenure at Oklahoma, he is a true advocate for Oklahoma students past and present.
He also didn’t write this, so don’t blame him for the official tone.