Originally Published: Dec 8, 2010 8:43 PM CDT
Urban Meyer shocked most of us quitting at Florida for the second time in eleven months. I was confused the last time because he said he quit because of his health and his family. Then he came back the next day and returned to coaching. Said it was because of his coaching staff and their families. I couldn’t figure out how his heath got better overnight and what he meant by saying he came back because of not his, but the families of the coaching staff.
Anyway, good guy, great coach and Im sure hes getting out for legit reasons. So whos next? Florida is currently one of the top three jobs in college football. Texas and Ohio State are the others I’d put in the group. There’s a reason the list of “candidates” is ridiculously long: a lot of people would take it.
Here are but some of the names I’ve seen: Bob Stoops, Chip Kelley, Jim Harbaugh, and Gary Patterson. All completely proven and BCS bowl-bound. Get a load of other names listed in reputable places: Steve Spurrier (a poll in Florida finds he’s the best Florida coach of all, edging out Meyer, who won two national titles to Spurrier’s one), Bobby Petrino, Chris Peterson, Dan Mullen, and Gary Edsall. For good measure, toss in NFL guys like Jon Gruden and Mike Shanahan. In fact toss in every name in football except Mack Brown, Joe Pa, and Rocker Chair Bowden.
Let’s cut to the chase and address the issue OU fans are sick of addressing. Would Bob Stoops leave OU for Florida? I’m a never-say-never guy, but I’d say no. But unlike many in the local media, I wouldn’t be in shock and awe and have a conniption fit if it happened. Some folks get in a tizzy if anyone brings up that Bob Stoops might/perhaps/conceivably/just maybe would consider leaving Norman to coach world champions for say, $50 mill per.
Stoops has a fabulous gig going. He’s revered by Sooner fans and revered in this state. That’s why I’d peg it 20:1 against him leaving. But anyone who doesn’t think he and the wife don’t have discussions about what it would be like at a Florida are nuttier than the fruitcake who smoked whatever was in his pipe as head coach in Norman in ’95.
I agree with two of the best college football experts. Guys who are level headed, have connections, and don’t have agendas. Guys who don’t put on blinders anytime their favorite coaches’ name comes up for a job and scream that there’s absolutely, positively no way their coach would ever leave. If you can’t tell, that kind of thinking gets under my skin. And is predictable.
The two experts are Pat Forde and Kirk Herbstreit of ESPN. Forde noted the fact that Stoops and UF AD J Foley have had a good, long term relationship. Forde said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if Stoops has a standing offer,” to coach the Gators. Why wouldn’t that be the case? Herbie says he believes Dan Mullen is the obvious guy. He was successful in his first year as a head coach at Mississippi State. And he was Meyer’s offensive coordinator for his two national titles.
Stoops has a lot more reasons to stay than leave. He’s building a serious legacy and is already in the conversation with Misters Bud and Barry. He’s stockpiled a boat load of young talent, enough that I believe he’ll be in one or two national title game in the next five years. It’d be tough to uproot his three kids and tough to walk away from their new dream house. I know the guy fairly well and he seems to have his act together and priorities in order which includes being secure and content in his own skin, his own home, and his working environment. People at OU expect championships. But the pressure would surely be very high if a guy like Stoops followed Meyer. How would you like to have done what Stoops has done then go to Florida and have it not work out?
So while I don’t think he’ll be UF’s next coach, we’d not be doing our jobs if we didn’t give you a complete picture. The guy has turned down who knows how many jobs? From Notre Dame to Florida to the NFL. And more, had he wanted. There are reasons this one would be appealing, beginning with it being a great chance to win national championships. There’s the talent on board and talent growing up all around you in fertile Florida. A good relationship with the A.D. ranks high. Money, facilities, and support in abundance. Bob and Carol Stoops really like Florida and have a summer home there. And hey, he could play more golf with Spurrierunless Spurrier had already taken the job.
I expect Stoops to coach in Norman another five or so years. That’d put his tenure about the same as the other two OU legends. Like Stoops, Bud and Barry had some attractive jobs come their way. But the options they had back then were not what an option like Florida is today.
When it’s all said and done being the head coach at Oklahoma is hard to beat.