After eight hard years in the desert, Mike Stoops loves being a Sooner again

Stoops said he never felt comfortable at Arizona, even when the Wildcats had success.
by Berry Tramel Published: July 30, 2012

“It's a tough place,” Stoops said. “Life wasn't getting any easier. At Oklahoma, I never felt that way.”

And so he wanted to come back, and Bob Stoops did something he hadn't done in 13 years in Soonerville. He fired a coach (Willie Martinez) and was prepared to demote another (Brent Venables, before he left for Clemson).

“I've got obviously a lot of faith in him … when we've worked together, it's been pretty positive,” Bob Stoops said.

That's at Iowa as players, at Kansas State as colleagues and at OU.

“Coming back was an interesting scenario,” Mike Stoops said of melding with Venables, his old pal from K-State and OU days, who took over as the Sooner defensive chief in 2004 when Mike Stoops went to Arizona. “It was a tense time for everybody, trying to find the dynamics, putting things back together the way it was is very difficult.

“First and foremost, what was best for Oklahoma? What was best for keeping the continuity? We were hopeful they would be able to stay together. That wasn't possible for whatever reason why.”

But the Brothers Stoops are reunited, and Mike is glad to be back.

“Programs that are stable are hard to find,” he said. “That's one reason I chose Oklahoma.”

Stable, the Sooners are. But Mike Stoops knows his mission is not to maintain stability. It's to restore championship defense.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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