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Oklahoma football: Bob Stoops may not always feel fans' love, but extension means OU leadership appreciates him

The consistent excellence that the Sooners have had under Stoops is remarkable. In the case of OU's leadership, it's also appreciated. “Appreciation” was actually the word Boren used Thursday in a news release announcing the contract extension.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: July 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm •  Published: July 26, 2013

Bob Stoops admitted earlier this week he's never felt appreciated by everyone in Sooner Land.

But on Thursday, we learned that the people who matter most appreciate him.

A lot.

The Oklahoma football coach was given a contract extension through 2020. Even though the move still needs approval from the Board of Regents — a source close to the situation told us Friday that a raise was not part of the deal — there's no reason to believe they won't fall in line with David Boren and Joe Castiglione.

All of this comes on the heels of a season in which some Sooner faithful called for Stoops' head.

Oh, I'm sure that happens every season — crazies will always be crazy — but this past fall, the chorus was louder than ever. A season that began with so much promise ended with three losses, including the embarrassment of the Cotton Bowl.

So, why would OU leaders decide to extend Stoops' contract now?

Part of it has to be a response to what's happening in college football. Seems every coach at every top-25 program has a long-term contract. Nick Saban at Alabama, Mack Brown at Texas and Charlie Strong at Louisville are all signed through 2020. Mike Gundy has a deal with Oklahoma State through 2019. That's the same year Les Miles' contract runs through with LSU.

There are plenty of schools that have burned by long-term deals. Auburn extended Gene Chizik after the Tigers won the national championship in 2010, then fired him two years later.

It will pay him $7.5 million over four years not to be its coach.

Clearly, there are risks to these long-term contracts, but those hazards seem minimal at OU. Stoops has never had a losing season in Norman. He's never even really come all that close.

And if you don't think that's a big deal, ask the folks in Austin what they think.

Texas has won 22 games the last three seasons.

OU has won 20 the last two.

Among those Sooner wins are a pair of Longhorn thrashings. OU throttled Texas 55-17 two seasons ago and 63-21 last season.

While even some of college football's powerhouses have experienced serious downturns over the past decade-plus, Stoops and the Sooners have continued to ride high. That's not to say everything is grand in Sooner Land. OU has slipped from its lofty perch of several years ago. No two ways around that. But the consistent excellence that the Sooners have had under Stoops is remarkable.

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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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