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Brent Venables' Catch 22: Comfort or more money?

by Jenni Carlson Published: January 16, 2012

Staying with the Sooners was always a better option.

“It's a little bit of a trap,” he said.

It's a snare that might snag Venables again.

He's been too good — regardless of what harsh verdicts you've heard handed down in the court of public opinion — not to have had opportunities to go other places over the past 13 years. Most, he squashed before they ever became serious. Some, he considered. All, he ultimately turned down.

Maybe he believed that the best way to one day return to Kansas State and become head coach at his alma mater was to stay at OU.

Or maybe he figured life couldn't be any better anywhere else.

And considering the way he's become a punching bag for the Sooner Nation — some of it totally validated, some of it completely ridiculous — Venables must believe he has it very, very good. The environment at work. The people who he calls co-workers. The chance to win. The availability of resources. The quality of life.

Those were the same things that always convinced Merv Johnson to stay.

Things worked out pretty darn well for the man who transitioned from coaching to being part of the Sooner radio broadcast team. But still, what might have been? What would've happened if he had taken a chance and left OU? How might his career have changed had he broken out of his comfort zone?

“I blame myself for not going ahead and making that kind of decision,” he said. “That's hindsight; there's no point in second guessing yourself. You made the best decision you felt like you could make at the time.”

That's what Brent Venables is trying to do now, though the best decision might not be so obvious.

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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