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Today’s interview just formality, AD suggests

By George Schroeder Published: December 17, 2005
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/> Three times in the past, OU coordinators have moved on to head-coaching positions. Each time, Stoops promoted an assistant. Each time, the former assistant departed for his new job before the bowl game.

But Stoops acknowledged this situation might be unique. OU is scheduled to practice for the Holiday Bowl on San Diego State's campus, just outside the school's football offices.

Could Long split duties for the rest of the month?

A week ago, when first approached by a reporter about a rumor of San Diego State's interest, Long laughed at the potential irony of helping his old team as he worked to build his new team. Of course, at that time, Long also denied contact with Aztecs officials.

But this week, an agent with knowledge of the situation said Long had been interviewed last week in Las Vegas. A separate source also said Long had been in conversation with San Diego State about the job.

A source said much of the contact between Long and San Diego State was handled by Chuck Neinas, the Boulder, Colo.-based consultant who is well known for brokering deals between schools and coaches.

Schemmel, who was an administrator at Kansas State when Stoops was an assistant there, spoke with Stoops several times during the process. Stoops said he had nothing but good things to say about his assistant.

"I bragged Chuck up, Stoops said.

Long is in his sixth season as an OU assistant, his fifth as offensive coordinator. In 2004, he was a finalist for the Frank Broyles Award, given to the nation's best college assistant coach. He is in his 11th season as a college assistant after spending eight years in the NFL.

Long drew interest from SMU for its head-coaching vacancy four years ago. And speculation had Long as a candidate for openings at Illinois last season and Kansas State last month.

"I would look at anything that came along, but at the same time I'm very happy here, Long said when Bill Snyder announced his retirement from Kansas State. "I'm excited about our program, where it is, what we've done so far this year and where it could go in the future. ... I do aspire to be a head coach, but it has to be the right situation for me and my family.

Long was criticized earlier this season when OU's offense sputtered, although the struggles were partly because of injuries and youth. Stoops adamantly supported his offensive coordinator then, recounting the Sooners' offensive success during Long's tenure in several different offensive styles.

"He's been incredible for the program, Stoops said Friday. "Look at the accomplishments under his tutelage. ... I think he's done a fantastic job.

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Stoops’ lieutenants

Chuck Long becomes Bob Stoops’ fourth coordinator to become a major-college head coach:

  • Mike Leach, OU offensive coordinator, 1999, is 48-27 in six years at Texas Tech.

  • Mark Mangino, OU offensive coordinator, 2000-01, is 18-29 in four years at Kansas.

  • Mike Stoops, OU defensive coordinator, 1999-03, is 6-16 in two years at Arizona.

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