Deaths of Austin Box, Brandon Everage have hit Bob Stoops and Sooners hard

BY JAKE TROTTER, Staff Writer, jtrotter@opubco.com Modified: June 2, 2011 at 9:46 pm •  Published: June 2, 2011
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“So Brent has had a very difficult time. He'll be OK, but it's been hard. And then, with his brother, sudden death, unexpected, it's equally as sad.”

Venables and Stoops both spoke at Box's funeral, along with Box's high school football coach, his college roommate and the Box family pastor.

Stoops has lost his father and several close friends over the years. But last week in Enid was the first time he could recall taking the podium at a funeral.

“It's very uneasy and just something you don't ever want to be comfortable doing,” he said. “And I wasn't.”

Because of the summer break, Stoops hadn't seen many of his players until the funeral. Many arrived to the service by bus from Norman and were already seated in the choir loft behind the casket when Stoops walked to his seat on the stage.

“I didn't know how it would be presented, how it would be set up,” he said. “Then you walk up and all the guys are sitting behind Austin.

“It was like, ‘Wow.' It just got me. It hurt.”