Has the silly season begun already?
When Southern Cal fired head coach Steve Sarkisian on Monday, one of the first names that came up as Sark’s replacement was that of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops.
Are you kidding me? Or are you that hard up for a list of names?
Let’s put it this way: Stoops is probably less of a candidate to coach the Trojans than is one of his old bosses, South Carolina deserter Steve Spurrier.
Why? Stoops is way too smart to take up address in Tinseltown.
Think about it: besides the annual raises that have elevated his salary now to $5.5 million a year, what’s the No. 1 reason Stoops has never left? Why didn’t he return to Florida? Why didn’t he jump to the Cleveland Browns or the San Francisco 49ers? Why hasn’t he been at Notre Dame or cycled through Jacksonville or Miami or even Dallas at one point or another in his career?
Two words: OU administration.
Stoops has stayed at Oklahoma because of his partnership with — maybe a better way to describe it is his deep admiration and appreciation for — OU president David Boren and athletic director Joe Castiglione and the way they do business. They support Stoops no matter what (and with a national championship in Year 2 and eight Big 12 Conference titles, how could they not?), and so Stoops will finish his coaching career at OU — when he’s darn good and ready.
At OU, Boren and Castiglione are lauded as consummate collegiate leaders. At USC, athletic director Pat Haden has become something of a punchline and may not be around long himself. Stoops is too savvy to make that mistake.
Who knows how things might have gone at Florida? The Gators have been through a couple of pretty serious lulls since Spurrier left there. And in the NFL, coaches get fired for not making the playoffs one time. At USC, Stoops would be just another name on a long list of decorated Trojan skippers who would be quickly and unceremoniously fired if he doesn’t measure up to history.
After 17 years at OU, Stoops — the program’s all-time leader with 172 head coaching victories — is practically a deity. He essentially has a lifetime contract in Norman. Because of that security, he’s not going to Troy or anywhere else.
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