CAMPUS CORNER — Still waiting for resolution in the Mike Stoops sweepstakes, but the story is at least inching forward today.
A few minutes ago, ESPN reported that the deposed Arizona coach would return to Oklahoma as a co-defensive coordinator, along with Brent Venables. The report said it could officially happen as early as today, but I’m told not to expect any sort of announcement or release today.
All this has seemingly been headed in this direction for weeks — and, really, since he was fired. It’s become more and more evident that he wants to be back, and that OU would be fine with having him back to coach the secondary. Mike’s presence on the sideline at the Insight Bowl was the signal of all signals, even if brother Bob Stoops downplayed it.
I thought what Bob said the next day — that he’d like his brother back “in the right circumstances” — spoke volumes.
What’s the hold up? From everything I’ve gathered, Bob is trying to give current secondary coach Willie Martinez every opportunity to find another job before making the announcement that Mike is returning. It’s awkward, and becoming more awkward, but that’s the way these January things often go.
Martinez is being given the professional courtesy, but at some point Bob Stoops and OU are going to have to pull the trigger. With Signing Day approaching, I’m sure Bob would like to have the staff set for the final couple of weeks leading up to Feb. 1.
What’s made this thing go? First, it’s Mike’s desire to return. His name was connected to about a half-dozen jobs, and he surely would have landed one, if not for his interest in coming back to OU and again working with his brother.
Here’s an underrated idea that drove this: Venables was fine with it. Brent didn’t let his ego factor into this one bit, from what I understand, and he was always open to having Mike back on the staff. He put team success ahead of his official title or pride, or whatever. I found that interesting when I first heard it about a month ago, and I’ve heard it from several people since then.
The announcement is coming – and coming soon. Just doesn’t sound as if it’ll be today.
Mike Stoops’ total defenses at OU
1999 — 39th – 344.4 yards per game
2000 — 8th – 278.9 ypg
2001 — 4th – 262.8 ypg
2002 — 10th – 293.1 ypg
2003 — 3rd – 259.6 ypg