NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops confirmed Wednesday assistant coaches Jackie Shipp and Bruce Kittle won't return to the program for the 2013 season.
“Bruce and Jackie both are great professionals who made a positive impact on Oklahoma Football,” Stoops said in a statement. “I wish Jackie and Bruce the very best moving forward.”
The departures of Shipp and Kittle were reported by The Oklahoman and other outlets Tuesday, but Stoops' announcement makes them official. Three OU football assistants have now moved on this week, including former offensive line coach James Patton, who joined Indiana's staff Monday.
According to Wednesday's statement, Stoops hasn't interviewed any potential candidates to fill the staff openings. West Virginia offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh has been widely reported as the front-runner to take the same position at Oklahoma.
“I anticipate speaking with several candidates that I have identified for our coaching staff, but I have yet to interview any of those individuals,” Stoops said. “I will continue to evaluate all of our options.”
Oklahoma's football staff has changed drastically just in the past two years; only four coaches — co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell, running backs coach Cale Gundy and defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright — remain from Stoops' 2011 staff.
Shipp had coached the OU defensive line since 1999, Stoops' first season in Norman. He's also a former Sooners linebacker, playing from 1980-83 and recording 489 career tackles, the second-most in school history.
“It has been a privilege to coach the last 14 seasons at my alma mater, an honor that few coaches in this business are afforded,” Shipp said in the release.
Kittle first arrived in 2010 as on-campus recruiting coordinator, and coached offensive tackles and tight ends the past two seasons. Patton led the entire offensive line his first five seasons at OU, but coached only interior linemen after Kittle's promotion.
“Our family wishes the Sooners the very best, and we'll always have a fond place in our heart for the many individuals who touched us during our stay in Norman,” Kittle said.