Berry Tramel

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Oklahoma football: Bob Stoops knows the stresses of coaching

by Berry Tramel Modified: November 4, 2013 at 1:40 pm •  Published: November 4, 2013

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops watches during the college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Kansas Jayhawks (KU) at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. Oklahoma won 34-19. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops watches during the college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Kansas Jayhawks (KU) at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. Oklahoma won 34-19. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak collapsed on the sideline Sunday night during halftime of his team’s game against Indianapolis. He was hospitalized and treated for a possible stroke.

Denver Broncos coach John Fox has taken a leave of absence to recover from surgery to replace a valve in his heart.

And Ron Stoops Sr. died of a heart attack at age 54, on the field after a high school game in Youngstown, Ohio.

So Bob Stoops is full aware of the stress on football coaches.

“That’s just been part of how we live,” Stoops said Monday. “Always been that way. The lifestyle’s different. Not everyone understands it. Not all spouses understand it. I don’t know that the general public realizes, from late July through January, it’s seven days a week, and you get home 8 (p.m.), 9 , 10, 11, sometimes midnight, one, depending on how you’re scheming things.

“It’s a different lifestyle that isn’t for everybody. But the guys that are in it, you love it.”

Stoops actually has a reputation for monitoring his staff’s workload. Making sure they don’t stay too late. Making sure they don’t neglect their private lives. When he arrived at OU, Stoops even instituted a Wednesday family night, in which all staff members were urged to bring their families to the office.

“I find it really important that you do find a balance with your family,” Stoops said. “And the college game, too, is a little different. They don’t walk in here at 8 in the morning. So we have all morning to plan for what we want to do that day. The other thing, we’re only allowed so much time with ‘em (players).”

Stoops said a coach who stays at the office until 1 a.m. devising elaborate strategy might discover he can’t teach it to his players in the 45 minutes or so available.

Stoops said he encourages his coaches to be medically checked often. “I lost my father at 54 years old on the sideline,” Stoops said. “I know the stresses of it. Not that it can prevent it (major problems), but I’m checked by my doctor routinely. And monitored. I’ve got a lot of issues that I’ve got to manage.

“We’re around great medical teams. So use ‘em.”

Stoops said he doesn’t ride herd on his staff, one way or the other.

“My guys know my philosophy,” Stoops said. “I don’t tell ‘em when (to go home), but let’s make sure we’re smart about it. Don’t guard your desk and tell everyone you guarded it. Make sure you’re productive. It’s a comfort level with different coaches. Some coaches, are, I know what I want, I’m done. And that’s OK.

“Everybody’s a little different on what they feel, if they’re in the right place.

“From week to week it’s a little different, with who you’re playing, how long it takes you to be in the right place.”

 

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 Oklahoman,...
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