EL PASO, Texas — Bob Bowlsby came clean. Yes, he slow-played Bob Stoops 11 years ago when the University of Iowa was looking for a football coach.
Bowlsby says it was the right thing to do. Stoops and Bowlsby are together again, this time as Oklahoma football coach and Stanford athletic director. Their teams play today in the Sun Bowl. But in November 1998, it seemed likely they would be joined together as Hawkeyes. Bowlsby was then the Iowa AD; Stoops was the Iowa grad (and Florida defensive coordinator) interested in his own head coaching job. Stoops was the people’s choice. Iowa fans clamored for his hiring after Hayden Fry announced his retirement. But after an interview, Bowlsby told Stoops he felt Iowa owed it to Kirk Ferentz to honor their scheduled interview and that he couldn’t yet offer the Hawkeye job to Stoops. You know the rest. Oklahoma hired Stoops, Iowa hired Ferentz and both programs have prospered, though certainly the Sooners moreso. "Kirk was the last guy to interview,” Bowlsby said.