Stoops@10: Entering his 10th season, Stoops has reached the level of OU's coaching greats

by Berry Tramel Modified: August 17, 2008 at 11:06 pm •  Published: August 17, 2008
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me the OU coach who went 27-8-3 and took OU to its first postseason game, the 1939 Orange Bowl. Even zealots will be hard-pressed to remember Tom Stidham.

So reaching 10 years is no small accomplishment itself. Stoops has avoided all the potholes that prematurely ended the OU careers of many coaches. Losing (John Blake, Gomer Jones). Alienating most everyone (Howard Schnellenberger). Death (Jim Mackenzie). Winning only moderately (Gary Gibbs). The NFL (Fairbanks). Other schools' offers (Jim Tatum, Stidham).

Stoops still trails Switzer and Wilkinson by two national titles; he will need at least one more to satisfy all the scholars who compare the epic Oklahoma coaches.

But make no mistake. Stoops has joined their exclusive club.

In fact, on the Mount Gushmore of Sooner football, Stoops becomes the fourth face, joining also Bennie Owen, who got the stadium built back in 1925 and coached the Sooners 22 years.

When Stoops gets victory No. 3 this year, he joins Switzer, Wilkinson and Owen in the 100-win club. Which will be absolutely historic.

No other program in college football boasts four 100-win coaches at that school.

Stoops isn't one to talk about legacy.

"I'm wasting my time worrying about what anyone else thinks,” he said.

What does he hope is his legacy?

"Only doing things the right way,” Stoops said. "And being a good person, good with people. Helped improve the program. Positive influence, had something to do with contributing.”

Stoops' influences weren't produced alone. He's had a stable and effective staff. Just like Wilkinson had Gomer Jones and Pete Elliot and Eddie Crowder, and Switzer had Galen Hall and Bobby Proctor and Scott Hill, Stoops has had Brent Venables and Bobby Jack Wright and Kevin Wilson.

But Stoops is captain of the U.S.S. Sooner, the face of the program. And now that face commands a spot alongside the other giants of the program. Bennie, Bud, Barry and now Bob.


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...
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