Harleys and hard feelings: OU, K-State set to meet

By Dennis Dodd Published: October 10, 2000
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Don't be surprised if a rumble breaks out Saturday when Oklahoma goes to Kansas State.

All the elements are there for a classic street brawl -- motorcycles, leather, biker chicks, tattoos and, oh yes, football.

Before the Sooners and Wildcats get it on, 100 motorcycles will roll into the stadium for something called "Harley Day". The biker parade has no particular purpose except to raise the noise level for a game where emotions already are off the meter.

"There seems to be a mystique right now with Harleys," said Lon Floyd, director of the Catbacker Clubs in the state of Kansas. "When you get them in an enclosed area, the sound seems to fascinate people.

"It is basically for one thing -- to pump the excitement. As if it needs to be this week." Only in Manhattan, Kan., where Kansas State fans have been waiting a couple of years for the return of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and the three former Wildcats assistants he supposedly "raided" from Bill Snyder's staff.

The animosity is mostly the stuff of chat rooms and talk shows but there is definitely an escalation in hostilities.

Oklahoma defensive coordinator and former Kansas State assistant Mike Stoops opened the curtain a bit on Kansas State's usually-secret program over the summer with this quote in Sports Illustrated.

"I don't know if anybody ever leaves coach Snyder on good terms. He simply doesn't accept that you would leave. But then again, there's no having a personal relationship with him even when you're there."

Bob Stoops spent seven years (1989-95) under Snyder, rising from secondary coach to assistant head coach/defensive coordinator. He departed in 1996 for Florida where he became Steve Spurrier's defensive coordinator until 1999 when he was hired at Oklahoma.

Upon getting the job, Stoops asked Snyder assistants Mike Stoops (his brother), Mark Mangino and Brent Venables to join him at Oklahoma. The three were cast as traitors by Kansas State fans who felt they'd been jilted. The perception was that Bob Stoops had stuck it to his old boss by ripping apart a successful staff.

"Coaches have a right to do what they will with their lives, with their families and build their careers the way they feel fit," Bob Stoops said. "These are all coaches who have spent a lot of time at that school. If it causes hard feelings and they don't want to spend the rest of their lives there, then that's the way it goes."

Both sides say there is no animosity heading into the game. Although Snyder admitted before the season that Oklahoma has replaced Nebraska the game most fans ask him about the most. It is known that both schools at least used to aggressively recruit against each other.

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