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OU's Bob Stoops, Nebraska's Bo Pelini lighting fires the Youngstown way

by Berry Tramel Modified: November 30, 2010 at 9:05 pm •  Published: November 30, 2010

Bo Pelini is college football's reigning sideline maniac. He stole the crown from Mike Stoops. Who took the status from his brother.

They come by it honest. They come from Youngstown.

Ohio's symbol of the Rust Belt stands tall Saturday night, when the Big Reds collide for the Big 12 Championship down in Arlington. Pelini's Cornhuskers and Bob Stoops' Sooners.

Youngstown runs deep through the bones of the families Stoops and Pelini.

“It's very much a blue-collar environment,” Bob Stoops said. “Work hard for anything you get. You gotta earn it. Nothing's given to you. Be willing to fight for it. That's everybody's nature back there.

“We never had trouble fighting for it back then.”

That nature remains today. Oh, it's slowly seeping out of Stoops, who isn't nearly as volatile as he was when he first arrived in Oklahoma. Isn't nearly as likely to go ballistic as he was 10 years ago.

When Stoops was Kansas State's defensive coordinator in the early 1990s, the coaching booth in the pressbox was next to president Jon Wefald's suite. Wefald eventually moved elsewhere in the pressbox.

Because of the coaches' emotional outbursts?

“That's what the word was,” Stoops said.

But surely it was little brother Mike, right?

“Mostly me,” Bob said. “I was crazy.”

The Stoops brothers formed quite the tag-team duo on referees — and beaten defensive backs — at OU, but now Mike is blowing gaskets at Arizona and Bob has mellowed.

“It's taken me 12 years,” said Stoops, who is still capable of sideline blowups, but they are rare. “I guess I've been in too many games now.”

Stoops talked the other day how stunned he is when he goes back to Youngstown and hangs out with old pals, at how coarse is their language. “Geez, guys,” he'll tell them. “Do you have to talk like that?”

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by Berry Tramel
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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