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Stoops steps down at OU

June 14, 2017
By Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

The name Stoops is synonymous with football in the Youngstown area.

Ron Stoops Sr. was the patriarch of a family that has seen four sons play and coach at various levels. His son Bob, who has been the head coach at Oklahoma University since 1999, resigned last week after 18 seasons as the Sooners' top man. When Stoops announced he was stepping aside, ripples shot through the NCAA and respect showered down on the 56-year-old former Cardinal Mooney standout.

"Bob Stoops stands as one of the premier legendary figures in one of the most storied programs in college football history," said Oklahoma Athletic Director Joe Castiglione in a press release. "He is still identified by his humble nature and team approach that refused to get caught up in stature."

It was amazing that Stoops could stay as humble as he did because his on-field records were nearly unparalleled. In 18 seasons, Stoops finished with the most wins in Oklahoma football history with 190 (versus just 48 losses). He won 10 Big 12 championships and had a 60-30 record versus top 25 teams. He accumulated the most wins on any Power 5 conference coach over the past 18 years and is the only Oklahoma head coach to win a Fiesta Bowl, a Rose Bowl, a Sugar Bowl and an Orange Bowl.

That Orange Bowl triumph in 2000 was a 13-2 decision over Florida State that gave the Sooners their seventh National Championship.

After that win, Stoops carried the Sooners into three more BCS National title games and one appearance in the new four-team national semi-final playoff in 2015. With that many notches in his belt, its no wonder why Stoops was bestowed the moniker "Big-Game Bob."

In 2016, ESPN.com asked 23 national head coaches, "If you had a son who was an elite football prospect and could play for any coach in America other than yourself who would be your first choice?" Bob Stoops' name was given more than any other head coach.

One rival coach anonymously answered the poll, "There's no question for me, I know what Bob Stoops stands for. He's been successful, but I truly believe his success has been a byproduct of creating one good man at a time. He's found the right balance in how you handle compassion and teaching."

The ex-local resident surely learned that compassion and teaching from his dad, Ron. Anyone who knows the history of Mooney football knows the tragic story of how the senior Stoops had a heart attack coaching a game. He died on his way to the hospital. Certainly he would be proud of not only Bob's great feats, but also those of his sons, Mark, who is the head coach at Kentucky; Mike, who was former head coach at Arizona and is currently an assistant at Oklahoma; and Ron Jr., who coaches at Youngstown State.

Bob is a 1978 graduate of Mooney and was a four-year starter at defensive back for the University of Iowa. He was voted one of the Big 10's MVP's in 1982. After his college playing days ended, Stoops went on to coach at Iowa, Kent State, Kansas State and Florida. While with the Gators, under head coach Steve Spurrier, Stoops developed a dominating defense that gave him his sterling reputation. The Youngstown native also dominated the room at his press conference last week in Oklahoma. Many of the reporters in attendance were unsure if Stoops' announcement had to do with more than just football. He put that to rest early in the press conference.

"I understand there's been some speculation about my health," Stoops started, "but my health was not the deciding factor in this decision and I've had no incidents that would prevent me from coaching."

Stoops is turning over the Sooner program to former offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley.

Coach Stoops' community work in Norman, Oklahoma, was equal to the exquisite work he did on the Sooners' sidelines. His Champions Foundation has raised more than $2 million for children at risk. He partnered with the March of Dimes, OU Children's Hospital, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Make-a-Wish Foundation as well as other local charities. Stoops also worked with Special Spectators to bring seriously ill children and their families to practices and games.

Stoops will remain in Norman as a special assistant to the athletic director while spending time with his wife Carol; daughter, Mackie; and sons, Drake and Issac.

During his press conference, Stoops said, "The Bible says, 'To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven.' I'm grateful for this season of my life and feel I've fulfilled my purpose here at OU as its head football coach."

 
 

 

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