On November 28, Bob Stoops a bad weekend for Oklahoma football fans turned even worse. A day after losing to Oklahoma State in Stillwater and being knocked out of the Big 12 title fight, head coach Lincoln Riley had a quick, stunning departure for USC.
For the first time since 1947, a Sooners coach left for another college job. Oklahoma, once a bastion of success and enduring stability, was in free fall.
“For 24 to 36 hours there was panic in the streets and people didn’t know what was going to happen to the ball,” said Dusty Dvoracek, a former Sooners player who lives in Norman and hosts the daily radio show on SiriusXM. rock Oklahoma”, contributing to television in Oklahoma City and calling games on ESPN. “I mean people are panicking around here, panicking. Oklahoma is not a place someone leaves. “
Then Monday took a turn, and Oklahoma president Joe Harroz and athletic director Joe Castiglione had a press conference inside the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Beside them is a familiar face: former Sooners coach Bob Stoops, who will be the new caretaker coach. Stoops took to the podium and declared that Oklahoma football would be fine.
“It was Lincoln’s choice to leave,” Stoops said he told the team after Riley announced he was leaving the room and leaving the room. “It’s okay. You are the one who will make all the matches or not make the matches. You win and lose. You are the team of the OU block. He is not. I am not. And any other coaches. Come here not.
Is Bob Stoops coming back?
It’s only been five years since Stoops stepped aside, handing the keys of the ranked program to 33-year-old Riley, at the end of a legendary career that included a 190-48 record at OU. Stoops was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame earlier this month.
But when it was Stoops’ turn to pick up the microphone, fans had flashbacks. Every time he spoke, thousands of tweets were released as fans celebrated his confident assertions that this was a “bump in the road”.
For OU fans, it’s the complete opposite. Riley captured the Sooners and the coach who hired him from East Carolina and gave him a national championship-caliber team; while Stoops – whom Castiglione spoke to immediately asked, “How can I help?” – the embodiment of loyalty.
The man who wore OU glasses for 18 years and turned down dozens of opportunities to go to NFL or other college jobs just happened to be down the street, still living in Norman. With Stoops in the lead, fans were thrilled to watch the ride that will culminate with the Valero Alamo Bowl Wednesday, when Stoops and Oklahoma play Oregon (9:15 p.m. ET, ESPN/ ESPN).
“This is it,” said Berry Tramel, a longtime columnist for The Oklahoman and radio host. “They love Bob. But maybe they love him more now than then.”
Tramel presented his first Sooners game in 1979 when OU faced Iowa, and a freshman named Bob Stoops started the Hawkeyes safe for the first time.
“I think people have forgotten that personality,” Tramel said of Stoops. “No matter what is going on, he shows confidence. The world fell apart, and the next day, he was there and he said, ‘Hey, everything’s going to be okay. Everyone settle down.”
It wasn’t much different from December 1, 1998, when Stoops from Florida – where he was Steve Spurrier’s defensive coordinator – was introduced as the Sooners’ new coach.
“People will expect what they want,” Stoops said. “Definitely, I expected more. I expect we’ll be in a very good position next year, with a chance to win many, if not all, games.”
Nothing is guaranteed. The Sooners hadn’t had a winning season in six years before Stoops arrived, going 12-22 under John Blake, 5-5-1 in one season under Howard Schnellenberger, and 6-6 in his final season. by Gary Gibbs.
Bob Stoops will stop after the season
Stoops was only 56 years old when he retired, which means he is still 61 years old.
“He passed away still very hot-blooded,” Tramel said. “And now, here, five years later, he is still very hot. He’s not a relic, you know? He sounds just like he used to, and he’s – aside from the beard – a lot like he’s been.”
Stoops also spent a whole season agitating OU fans while working on Fox’s college football television show, even leading the crowd on the show “Texas Sucks!” chanting before OU’s September 18 game against Nebraska. It has endeared him to a whole new generation of fans and even to those who have criticized him for not winning a national title after his second season, that is the true measure of success in Oklahoma.
A popular Christmas gift this year in Oklahoma was a T-shirt that said “Bud. Barry. Bob. Brent.” The guy who hit 55-10, won four Big 12 titles in five years and made three college football knockout appearances has been excommunicated.
It seems a couple of weeks holding the fort while a guard moves into his old office has given the Stoops legacy a new shine.
“We need to get him a second statue, maybe with a beard and some Rock N Roll Tequila and a cigar on it,” said Travis Davidson, the Oklahoma fan who organized the event. regular Twitter Spaces gatherings about the group, in a nod to Stoops’ post-coaching side business.
“When he left, he didn’t leave,” Tramel said of Stoops. “You know, Florida loved Urban Meyer, but when he left, he was in Ohio. When Pete Carroll left USC, he went to Seattle.
And now, when you look back, you know what? Turns out when he said he liked Oklahoma, he was more than just a kid, compared to Lincoln, who you’d never think to pull something like this. But he made it. “
For Knapp, this chapter takes Stoops into the air even more rarity among legendary companies in OU history. “Everybody in Oklahoma said Barry Switzer was king and then Bob was prince,” Knapp said. “But Bob is king for generations after us.”
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