OU football: Bob Stoops loves to win, but it's not life and death

The Sooners coach enjoys what he does for a living, but he will not let the job or results on the field consume his personal life.
BY TRAVIS HANEY Published: January 8, 2012
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NORMAN — In six months on the job, one thing I've learned about Bob Stoops is to never question his loyalty to the staff.

Stubborn? Maybe. Bites him in the tail at times? Yeah, probably.

But, more, it's commendable in this disposable and replaceable era of college football, frenzied firings and hirings and whatnot. It's his style, regardless of what you think.

When I spoke recently with Hall of Famer Hayden Fry, Stoops' college coach and a mentor, Fry told me he never once fired an assistant — because he truly believed he was surrounded by winners, or else he wouldn't have hired those men. It's Stoops' prerogative to do business that same way, and I'd say he's done just fine in his coaching career with loyalty as one of his guides.

Take Oklahoma strength coach Jerry Schmidt, who just happened to be Stoops' first hire after taking the job in 1999.

In recent years, some players — not all, or even a majority — have whined about Schmitty's workout regimen. They've said it's too difficult, too demanding — too much, basically.

That got an eye roll from Stoops when we asked him about it the day after the Insight Bowl. He classified whatever displeasure there has been as a matter of kids changing, becoming more entitled and therefore wanting to create their own set of rules.

“We've had walk-ons that earned scholarships and won national championships,” Stoops said. “Now each guy is going to come in and tell you to level the time they're going to make, or what we're going to do?”

Stoops' face was turning red. Old Testament Bob, I've heard it called in recent weeks.

“I'm not going to have a bunch of guys every year that are going to come in with their idea of what things ought to be,” he said. “They can do to that some other place.”

In Stoops' mind, you let the students make the rules, you wind up with a broken system — and then you, yourself, are out looking for another job. The players should adhere to your standard, not set their own.

For the half-dozen at the table, Stoops then appealed to the parents. (I'm not one.) What happens, he asked, if you always let your kids get their way?

“They run all over you,” he said. “And you have two or three. Try 105 and see what happens. That (criticism) comes from a bunch of people that have never run a football program. I wonder what their children are doing when they're letting them set whatever curfew they want or whatever they want to do.

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