I ran into OU president David Boren at dinner Thursday night. I hadn’t checked my emails for awhile, for a very good reason. Trish the Dish and I were celebrating our 33rd wedding anniversary.
So when OU sent out a release at 5:40 p.m. that it had extended Bob Stoops’ contract through 2020, I didn’t see it. Boren himself broke the news to me at 6:45 p.m. You can read our story here.
Boren started reminiscing about the Howard Schnellenberger and John Blake days, and how OU fans pleaded with him to find a quality coach. Boren said they told him if he could just find a coach who could post a winning record, they never would complain again.
Of course, no one believes such a claim, because fans have short memories. But Boren doesn’t. He’s a Stoops loyalist.
I told Boren that if he got rid of Stoops, he might find a better coach, but odds are great that he would have to settle for a worse coach. Boren wasn’t interested in even that admission. Boren said he thought he had the nation’s best coach, and the OU press release certainly is full of such plaudits.
I found our conversation interesting and revealing, for a variety of reasons. One, some OU fans are getting skittish about the football program, which has gone two straight years without an outright Big 12 title. Two straight 10-3 seasons are not the sign of disrepair but also aren’t the peak established by Stoops throughout much of his 14 seasons. Two, old pal Mack Brown is in some hot water down in Texas, and while most everyone thinks Brown could find his ice thinning should Texas reel off another sub-par season and the Sooners adminster another Cotton Bowl thrashing, OU hasn’t fallen anywhere near the depths of the Longhorns. Texas has 22 wins the last three years; OU has 20 wins the last two, including victories of 55-17 and 63-21 the last two years.
Down in Dallas this week during Big 12 Media Days, Stoops was asked if he still felt appreciated.
“Yes, I do feel appreciated by our fans, administration and everybody,” Stoops said. “I’ve never been appreciated by everybody, even in 2000. So not everyone’s going to ‑‑ that’s always going to be the case, and any time you’ve been somewhere 15 years, that’s something to consider.”
I had to ask. Who didn’t appreciate Stoops in 2000. He recalled a letter to his office, someone upset with the different striping on the pants. That to me is not unappreciating a coach. It’s either just general disagreement over a particular subject or a 2×4 stuck up your butt, one of the two.
But I think Stoops is generally correct. I think he IS appreciated by fans and administration, most notably a certain president who isn’t ashamed to say so.