Originally Published: Dec 11, 2010 5:10 PM CDT
Being the Florida coach is hard. Not only hard to win enough to satisfy the fans, but hard to even land.
Being the Oklahoma football coach is equally hard. Hard to win enough to quench the insatiable thirst of fans dissatisfied with anything less than a BCS win. Also, very hard to get (disregarding the eras/errors of Schnelly and Boo Blake).
So on the day filled with reports and perhaps mis-reporting on where Bob Stoops will coach next year, I am left with the simplest question and answer of all. Can Stoops walk away from Oklahoma? I say no, and may live to regret it and may live to laughed at for thinking that my alma mater is the end all.
But knowing the job pretty well and knowing the coach pretty well, and hearing him tell me dozens of times that he’s got the “best” situation in the world, I just don’t see him coaching anywhere else until he retires. But if he did, it would be the one school that’s been knocking long and loud. Long in that it seems like the job’s been his to turn down about fourteen times now. Loud in that the Gators have about all a coach could ever want.
You know by now what is so appealing at Florida. So appealing that there are probably three or four coaches who’d turn it down: Mack Brown, Jim Tressel, Nick Saban. Oh, and Bob Stoops.
If Stoops walked away from Oklahoma, he’d be the first coach since Bud Wilkinson to do it. Not only is there a program not exceeded by any school in America when it comes to the package of tradition to the unwavering support from a devoted and talented A.D. and President. A coach could not do better than having Joe Castiglione and David Boren to lean on. The ability to win is the first thing that draws a coach to a program. The ability to do it with class people you can trust is another.
Stoops is good friends with UF A.D. Jeremy Foley, no doubt a good guy. But right now he’s been dating the other two guys for a dozen years. Now that’s going steady. Throw in all the other close relationships outside of family, coaches and close friend, and you realize you’re at a special place.
Stoops knows he would make the one-year slide at Florida a thing of the past very quickly. He’d expect to be playing Alabama for the chance at a BCS title most years. Pretty good gig.
So I say he’s staying. Since I’m a percentage kinda guy, I’ll put it at 67.7 percent. Not 66. Not 67. But rounded up to better than two out of three chance. I have solid Florida contacts who’ve said it’s been his job to turn down. That he’d cash a big check and someone would write him another big check to buy that mansion on the North Norman plains. One tells me it’s not unusual for him and Foley to talk but that this offer is real and that the interest has been real.
Hey, no one I in crimson and cream should hold that against a guy. If Stoops didn’t at least listen to the school where he’d won a national title and that has so many things to offer you shouldn’t want him around your neck of the woods. He’d be crazy not to. How much he listened is up for debate. And if he stays at Oklahoma he won’t be offering up that information at all. Just do what he’s done every time a job has come up and say he’s got a great job and never considered leaving.
One other thing leads me to say he’s staying. He told a guy I completely respect soDave Sittler of the Tulsa World. Stoops doesn’t lie. Sittler doesn’t lie. End of story.
Common sense would tell you it’s more complicated than that. Especially when one of the Florida insiders told me, ““it will be an interesting 48 hours with Stoops the job is definitely his to turn downI expect OU to counter and for him to stay.”
It may come back to haunt me, but I just don’t think you walk away from being the Oklahoma football coach. Not even for Florida.