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OU coach Bob Stoops survives while championship football coaches fall

While colleagues like Urban Meyer and Pete Carroll have moved on, the Sooners' coach remains at the helm of a school he took to a national title.
by Berry Tramel Published: June 25, 2011

We are losing many of the coaches who came to define 21st-century college football.

Eighteen months ago, Pete Carroll left Southern Cal for the NFL.

Last December, Urban Meyer resigned from Florida, this time for good, the victim of apparent burnout.

On Memorial Day, the Ohio State scandal finally pierced Jim Tressel. He was forced to resign.

All national championship coaches. All seemingly made men. Yet uneasy lie the heads who have worn the crown.

“I think the business of college sports has been tough for a long time,” said Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione.

Joe C. is lucky. No, not lucky. Castiglione made his own luck. He hired Bob Stoops in December 1998. Castiglione still has his football coach. Still has his national-title winning coach.

Only six coaches remain at schools where they have won titles: Stoops, Texas' Mack Brown, Penn State's ageless Joe Paterno and three Southeastern Conference coaches who have won in the last four years: Auburn's Gene Chizik, Alabama's Nick Saban and LSU's Les Miles.

Only seven current major-college coaches were hired for their post in the 1900s: Stoops, Brown, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz (1999), Fresno State's Pat Hill (1997), Troy's Larry Blakeney (1991), Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer (1987) and Paterno (1966).

College football coaching provides power, fame and untold riches. It also will spit you up and chew you out.

“I don't know what to say about that,” Stoops said when asked about the demise of some of his championship colleagues. “Other than I think it's fair to say, how difficult it is to manage everything that comes our way.

“To manage it the right way, to manage it successfully, to manage it whatever way you want to put it.”

Coaches have to win at a high level, or they're out the door, as elite coaches like Phil Fulmer, Larry Coker and Tommy Tuberville learned. Plus, coaches must stay one step ahead of scandal that can descend like locusts. Cast out the plague quickly, or at least don't cover it up. Such failures eventually cost Carroll and Tressel.

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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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