Oklahoma State super booster T. Boone Pickens dies

Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Oklahoma State super booster T. Boone Pickens dies

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Oklahoma State super booster T. Boone Pickens dies

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T. Boone Pickens, the mega booster behind Oklahoma State athletics and member of Augusta National Golf Club, died on Wednesday. He was 91.

The website boonepickens.com posted a story in which it said that Pickens “died of natural causes surrounded by friends and family on September 11, 2019, according to spokesman Jay Rosser.”

Pickens will be buried at Karsten Creek Golf Club, home to the OSU golf teams, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Pickens tweeted just five days ago that he was missing the Cowboy Golf Pro Am for the first time in 46 years.

Pickens is famous to sports fans for large donations to his alma mater, donations that, by his own estimation, have totaled more than $500 million to academics and athletics. The football stadium is named after him.

But long before that, Pickens was a successful businessman. According to boonepickens.com:

Pickens was a pioneer in the energy industry, a career-long champion for shareholder rights, a groundbreaking health and fitness advocate, and a generous philanthropist whose charitable donations exceeded $1 billion. In July 2008, he launched a self-funded, $100 million, grass-roots campaign aimed at reducing this country’s crippling dependence on OPEC oil.

Born in Holdenville, Oklahoma, in 1928, he earned a degree in geology and followed his father, T. Boone Pickens Sr., into a job at Phillips Petroleum.

He quickly soured on the company and borrowed some money and started his own business, Petroleum Exploration, with two partners. That begat Mesa Petrolum, an oil and gas company in Amarillo that Pickens took public in 1964, according to a story in USA TODAY.

In a series of ups and downs, Pickens lost control of debt-ridden Mesa, moving on in 1996 to found BP Capital Management, a billion-dollar hedge fund focused on energy commodities and equities that delivered mammoth gains.

In 2007, Forbes magazine estimated Pickens’ net worth at $3 billion.

NBC News Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw and Founder & Chairman, BP Capital Management, T. Boone Pickens speak at the 2016 Concordia Summit in New York on Sept. 19, 2016. Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

Though he eschewed the term “corporate raider,” he was a regular player, making a series of losing but profitable takeover runs at Gulf Oil, Unocal and Diamond Shamrock.

In 1986, Boone, who rankled CEOs by his tactics, founded United Shareholders Association, a not-for-profit that declared war on big business management and what he viewed as managerial abuses.

Pickens has contributed $100 million for endowed faculty positions at OSU. His foundation gave $50 million each to the University of Texas’ M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

In addition, he joined billionaire investor Warren Buffet and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in signing a “giving pledge” in promising to donate a majority of his wealth to charity.

“I firmly believe one of the reasons I was put on this Earth was to make money and be generous with it,” he said on his website.

Pickens is survived by his five children: Deborah Pickens Stovall, Pam Pickens Grace, Michael Pickens, Tom Pickens and Liz Pickens Cordia. He has 11 grandchildren and “an increasing number of great-grandchildren.”

Oklahoma State’s football team plays at Tulsa this Saturday and then at Texas on Sept. 21. OSU’s next home game is Sept. 28.

He spoke to the Tulsa World last season of his desire for the Cowboys to win a football national championship.

“I’m in this to win a national championship. … Time for me is winding down, but I remain an optimist that (head coach) Mike Gundy can and will deliver on a national championship. The sooner the better. At 90, I don’t buy green bananas.”

Steve Gardner and Doug Stanglin from USA TODAY contributed to this article.

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