Oklahoma football: How Bud Wilkinson and Bob Stoops are most alike

COMMENTARY — For this week, and likely this week only, two iconic OU coaches are tied in victories at 145 apiece
by Berry Tramel Published: November 6, 2012

McMillen says Stoops hasn't let up, that he's recruiting as hard as ever. “I think he's more into it than he's ever been,” McMillen said.

And clearly, Stoops is not a Renaissance Man. Wilkinson was, but Stoops still likes to tell the story of his corporate interviews while coming out of Iowa with a business degree, how uncomfortable he was.

“That's not me,” Stoops said. “There's a lot I want to do. As far as occupation, though, no. I've always wanted to be a coach.”

So I don't see anything pulling Stoops away from coaching. Not business. Not broadcasting. Lord knows not politics.

Of course, coaching could pull Stoops away from coaching. It's possible he could grow weary of the grind.

I told Stoops about the Eddie Sutton theory. Sutton used to say that you shouldn't retire until you knew what you were going to do the very next day.

But Stoops said he doesn't fear that.

“You just don't know what else is out there until you know you're open for it,” Stoops said. “That's the biggest thing. Sometimes you're amazed at wow, all these opportunities are out there but you haven't been open to 'em, because everyone knew you were coaching.

“So you just don't know. You never know when that time's right. I believe, in my heart, whenever I do (leave coaching), there will be other opportunities that will be exciting. I just don't know what they are, because I'm not there.”

No, he's not. Stoops still is going strong. He's at 145 victories and figures to pass Switzer's 157 sometime next season. Eddie Robinson and Bobby Bowden can rest easy; I don't think Stoops is going hit 300. But 200? Twenty-two OU seasons, to match Bennie Owen's record? Very well could happen.

“I think every day, he's really happy to be here,” McMillen said. “Just a great place. He enjoys it. You look at other jobs, are any of 'em better? I don't think so. Good friends, great place to raise your family, plenty of things to do.”

Wilkinson was 47 when he felt the call to Washington. He had already been serving as President Kennedy's consultant on physical fitness. After the U.S. Senate defeat, Wilkinson moved to D.C. anyway.

Stoops says he feels no such call, anywhere. Says he'd more inclined to step out into the great unknown.

“That wouldn't worry me in the least,” Stoops said. “Because I've got faith in a life lived properly, there's going to be opportunities, and exciting different ones, whatever they are.”

Not exactly the way Wilkinson would have said it, but the sentiment is somewhere close to the Bud camp. Stoops coaches not because he has to, but because he wants to.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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