NORMAN — Jeremy Beal figured Bob Stoops was in his early 40s. Landry Jones thought 41, then switched to 45. DeMarco Murray tossed out 48.
Then Ryan Broyles nailed it. Fifty.
Just like his players' guesses, Bob Stoops' age is rising. Today, life hangs half a hundred on the Oklahoma football coach.
"I'm enjoying my last days in the 40s," Stoops joked the other day.
Stoops is like most of us. Doesn't feel his age. I get to 50 myself in January; don't feel a day over 25.
Same with Stoops. "That's how I feel," Stoops said. Just a couple of weeks ago, Stoops high-fived his doctor, after a cholesterol check came in at less than 200 for the first time in years. Stoops, whose father died of a heart attack at age 54, constantly monitors his health and is zealous in his physical fitness.
"He doesn't seem 50," said longtime lieutenant Brent Venables.
"He's very young at heart," said longtime wife Carol Stoops, who still calls her man Bobby.
Leaving his 40s means Stoops never again can be called a young coach. Leaving his 40s puts Stoops in rare Sooner status.
Excluding the bewildering hire of 60-year-old Howard Schnellenberger, only three of OU's 15 coaches of the last 100 years were on the job in their 50s.
Gomer Jones was 49 when he was promoted and 51 when he stepped down.
Bennie Owen, hired in 1905, turned 50 on July 24, 1925, and didn't coach after 1926.
And Barry Switzer turned 50 in October 1987; he was forced out in June 1989, at 51.
If Stoops is on the job in September 2012, he will become the second-oldest Sooner coach ever, behind only the Colonel.
Ask me 10 years ago, after that Orange Bowl beat down of Florida State, if Stoops still would be on the job at 50, I'd have said no way. But ask me now if he'll be on the job at 60, I'd say likely.
"I'd agree wholeheartedly," Venables said. "I think he feels more loyalty now. I think the relationships, this is where home is."
Stoops has lived in Norman longer than anywhere else except Youngstown, Ohio. Norman is the only home his kids, ages 14, 11 and 11, know.
And Stoops still loves his job. "Always have," he said. "I wouldn't do anything, whatever occupation, if I wasn't enjoying my life. I'd do something else."Berry Tramel: Big game for Florida State
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