NORMAN — In December 1999, Oklahoma's players were upset to see Mike Leach — another one of their coaches — leaving Norman.
Bob Stoops, who'd just finished his first season as the Sooners' head coach, explained to the disappointed Sooners, though, that Leach becoming Texas Tech's head coach was a good thing.
“Leach got the job after eight months, and all the guys didn't know how to feel about it,” Stoops said. “They were so used to losing coaches because they lost, they thought it was a bad thing.
“I said, ‘No, this is a good thing. We did so well they want to hire one of our guys. Get used to that.'”
Leach was the first of several Stoops offensive coordinators who was hired to lead his own program, and the trend appears likely to continue with Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell. OU's co-offensive coordinators both say they aspire to be head coaches someday.
Heupel, who in 1999 had just finished his first regular season as Oklahoma's quarterback, was reportedly a candidate for Louisiana Tech's head-coaching position earlier this month.
He declined to discuss any specifics regarding his future, but did say Louisiana Tech has “a great administration.”
“At some point I'd like to be a head coach,” Heupel said. “That's a goal of mine. Obviously I'm extremely happy and excited to be a part of this program and the direction we're headed.”
Louisiana Tech hired Skip Holtz, so Heupel appears settled at Oklahoma for now. Norvell seems likely to stay put in Norman, too, despite his name being mentioned for a few openings.