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Stoops saw OU as better opportunity than Iowa

By John Helsley, Modified: August 20, 2008 at 6:39 am •  Published: August 20, 2008
NORMAN – Oklahoma officials wanted Bob Stoops as their next coach, a point they made perfectly clear before Stoops left to keep his word and interview with Iowa.

The Hawkeyes weren't so clear, making Stoops' decision to lead the Sooners all the easier.

Might Stoops have been tempted by Iowa, his alma mater, with more a little more love factored in the equation?

Doubtful, according to Stoops, who said he saw the Sooners as the better opportunity.

"I've got to be honest,” Stoops said recently, "I felt all along that business-wise, this was the best opportunity. And fortunately for me it's worked out really well.”

It's worked for OU, too, with a seventh national title and 97 wins accumulated under his watch.

Yes, Stoops played at Iowa and got his coaching start with the Hawkeyes under the legendary Hayden Fry. And it was the retiring Fry that the next coach would replace.

But when Stoops — who had since coached as an assistant at Kansas State and Florida — agreed to interview for the opening with the Hawkeyes, he wasn't rushing back into extended loving arms.

"I felt out of respect — I had been there 10 years, that's my alma mater — that I owed that to them,” Stoops said.

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