Berry Tramel

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Mark Stoops an Ohio State candidate?

by Berry Tramel Published: May 31, 2011

Mark Stoops is being mentioned as a possible candidate for the Ohio State football coaching job. Urban Meyer is the clear favorite for the job; I’m sure it’s his after the 2011 season, if Meyer wants it.

But if not Meyer, who? A lot of observers are listing Mark Stoops as a possible candidate. In fact, one oddsmaker listed the little brother of Bob and Mike as the No. 2 favorite in the derby.

Interesting. Mark Stoops’ stock certainly is rising after a very good season as Florida State’s defensive coordinator.

Mark Stoops is 43 — he turns 44 on July 9 — and gradually built up quite the resume. Mark, just like Bob and Mike, was an Iowa defensive back. Mark played for Hayden Fry from 1986-88, then was a graduate assistant for the Hawkeyes and then went into high school coaching.

Bob Stoops’ Kansas State ties helped Mark get into college coaching. Jim Leavitt, Stoops’ fellow co-defensive coordinator at KSU, was hired to start a football program at South Florida. Mark coached one year at USF, 1996, a season in which all the players redshirted.

Then Mark Stoops jumped to Wyoming to work for Dana Dimel, another member of Bill Snyder’s K-State coaching tree and another former colleague of Bob Stoops. Mark spent four years with Dimel, three at Wyoming and one at Houston.

Then Larry Coker hired Mark Stoops to coach Miami U. defensive backs, and in Year 1 Miami went 12-0 and won the national championship. Mark spent three seasons at Miami, then became Mike Stoops’ defensive coordinator at Arizona for six years. In 2010, Mark Stoops joined Florida State’s staff.

So that’s an impressive resume’. Coached at traditional powers Miami and Florida State. Coached at outposts like Houston and Wyoming. Coached at a down-program-that-should-be-better-and-got-there in Arizona. Coached at a fledgling program like South Florida.

Is that enough to get Mark Stoops a look from Ohio State? Is growing up in Youngstown, Ohio, enough of a hook for the Buckeyes to take notice?

In Mark Stoops’ favor, Ohio State historically does get stars in its eyes when searching for a coach. Woody Hayes was head coach at Miami-Ohio when hired by the Buckeyes in 1952. Earle Bruce was head coach at Iowa State when hired in 1979. John Cooper was head coach at Arizona State when hired in 1988. And Jim Tressel was head coach at Youngstown State when hired in 2001.

So the Buckeyes long have gone for a head coach, but they’ve gone to largely lower-status coaches with Ohio ties. Youngstown State and Miami-Ohio head coaches. Bruce was a long-time Ohio high school coach and Ohio State assistant. Only Cooper and Arizona State broke the mold.

So Mark Stoops might have a chance. It’s clearly Urban Meyer’s job to have. A phenomenal head coach at Utah and Florida, Meyer also has the Ohio ties. He’s an Ohio native and played at the University of Cincinnati, then coached at Ohio State. Meyer’s first head coaching job was at Bowling Green, yet another Ohio school.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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...
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