Share “Firing to hiring: 9 days”

Modified: August 20, 2008 at 8:23 am •  Published: August 20, 2008
Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione moved quickly after the firing of John Blake in 1998, needing just nine days to identify Bob Stoops as his top target and put him on the steps of Evans Hall for an introduction as the Sooners' 21st coach. A look at those days:

•Saturday, Nov. 21: The Sooners beat Texas Tech 20-17 to finish 5-6 with a modest two-game winning streak, but a special regents meeting is called for Sunday to determine John Blake's fate as coach.

•Sunday, Nov. 22: The regents meeting pounds home the importance of the OU football position to Castiglione — on the job all of five months himself — as local television and radio crews broadcast the proceedings to a statewide audience. During a roll call vote, Blake is ousted 4-2. Already, Castiglione is working on a successor. "That night, after I left that room, I put together my game plan for the next morning and I was beginning to reach out, confidentially, sometimes through others, to find out if there would be interest.”

•Monday, Nov. 23: Castiglione immediately goes to work considering candidates. He produces two lists: A and 1A. Stoops is the lone assistant to make the A list.

•Tuesday, Nov. 24: Working the phones, Castiglione talks to several candidates and sets up a Wednesday interview with Stoops in Dallas.

•Wednesday, Nov. 25: Castiglione and Stoops talk for six hours in the Admiral's Club at DFW International Airport. Already, Castiglione senses Stoops may be the man. After the meeting, Castiglione heads to Kansas City, where he'll have Thanksgiving dinner the next day with his family, who have yet to join him in Norman. He dines at a deserted Houston's restaurant with a friend, yet reports still get back to Oklahoma City that he's interviewing an "unknown” candidate.

•Thursday, Nov.

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John Blake


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