NORMAN — Bill Bedenbaugh met his wife, a born-and-raised Oklahoman, through a former OU football standout, making the family's second cross-country move since early 2011 seem like a perfectly natural one.
Bedenbaugh officially joined Oklahoma's football staff as offensive line coach, Sooners coach Bob Stoops announced in a Sunday news release.
“Bill is a passionate teacher and a demanding coach who I believe will make an immediate impact on our football team,” Stoops said in a statement.
Bedenbaugh, who spent the last two seasons as West Virginia's offensive line coach, replaces James Patton and Bruce Kittle, both of whom were fired last week.
Unlike Patton and Kittle, who split offensive-line coaching duties the last two seasons, Bedenbaugh will be responsible for the entire group.
He coached four seasons at Arizona under Mike Stoops before his West Virginia stint; before that, Bedenbaugh spent seven years on a Texas Tech staff that included now-West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen and Seth Littrell, a former OU fullback.
Through Littrell, Bedenbaugh was introduced to Maryde Connor, a Tahlequah native, Oklahoma State graduate and now his wife.
“There are very few jobs in America that Bill would've left West Virginia for,” said Bo Connor, Maryde's brother who lives in Tulsa. “He's very close with Dana, and Dana's a really good family friend.
“The opportunity to coach at the University of Oklahoma, and the fact that family is nearby ... he couldn't pass it up.”
Bedenbaugh's hire — at least in part — was due to his reputation as one of the nation's top recruiters. Oklahoma offered dozens of scholarships to 2013 offensive-line prospects, but signed just three — two of which were junior-college transfers.
Tackle Christian Daimler, from Houston, will be OU's lone incoming freshman, scholarship offensive lineman.
“His track record of developing physical and disciplined offensive linemen makes him an excellent fit for our program,” Stoops said. “Bill is also an accomplished recruiter who will join the rest of our staff in continuing to attract some of the nation's most talented student-athletes to Oklahoma.”
Bedenbaugh was named one of America's top-50 recruiters earlier this month by 247Sports.com.
“He's just a very genuine person; he's honest,” Connor said. “If I was a high-school athlete or a parent of a high-school athlete, that would resonate pretty well with me.”
In an interview with Sooner Sports TV posted online Sunday, Bedenbaugh cited his wife's family as one of the reasons accepting the job was a “no-brainer.”
“When Coach Stoops made the call, it was an easy decision, really,” Bedenbaugh said.
“In coaching, as everyone knows, you move around. You very rarely get the opportunity that I've just been presented. ... My wife gets to come home to her family; I get to coach at Oklahoma. It doesn't get any better than that.”