Mike Cope's blog

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

The SI link with Rick Reilly isn't updated. So here's his editorial about Bobby Stoops. It hurts me to publish something so good about an OU coach! What the hell are we going to do with Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops? He's clueless. He's inept -- he's two flights and a puddle jumper from ept. Most college football coaches have egos just slightly larger than Boise, Idaho. You couldn't find Stoops's with a magnifying glass and tweezers. The guy drives the preschool car pool every morning. In his Pontiac minivan! Texas coach Mack Brown has an office big enough to U-turn a Greyhound bus. Stoops's is so small you have to leave to sneeze. O.K., so he's got the Sooners, who beat Colorado 34-20 last Saturday, 8-0 and No. 1 in the country again. Look at the lousy example he's setting! Coaches have been known to cheat on their wives, slobber on Sigma Chis, speed-dial strippers. Stoops? He goes to his wife's Mary Kay cosmetics conventions in support of her career. Coaches are supposed to watch film until 2 a.m., sleep on their office couches and get started again at sunup to prove how much they care. Stoops? He's usually home for dinner. He holds Wednesday-night "family meetings," during which the coaches' spouses and their 30 kids turn the football offices into Gymboree. He doesn't start his day until 8:45 in the morning, so his coaches can see their broods off. On the Thursday before Oklahoma's 65-13 fricasseeing of Texas in Dallas, Stoops was eating lunch with his first-grade daughter at her school when he noticed that half the kids were missing from the lunchroom. "Where are they?" Stoops asked a teacher. "They left already for the Texas game with their parents, Coach," she said. Uh, coach, hello? You know what the problem with Stoops is? He's got the wrong hero. His hero is a man who was never even a head coach in high school, a history teacher and defensive coordinator who used to bring game film to his little three-bedroom house on the tattoo side of Youngstown, Ohio, and watch it on the refrigerator door. Why? He wanted to be near his wife and six kids. The hero? Stoops's father, Ron. "There was nobody wealthier than my dad," says Stoops. "He was a man before his time. He'd do the dishes, do the laundry, scrub the floors. He could've had all kinds of head-coaching jobs -- high school, college -- but he didn't want 'em. He wouldn't have wanted my job for anything. He loved his life just as it was. He was happy. What else can you want?" And that's why, when Ron dropped dead of a heart attack on a high school sideline at 54, his son dedicated himself to living a life just like his father's. But he didn't become his dad -- he became much better. He's 42-4 the last four seasons with one national title and another one penciled in for this year. He's Coach Clutch with a 10-1 record against Top 10 teams, 16-1 against Top 25 over the same period. And he did it after inheriting the 101st-best offense in the country five seasons ago. But he won't take his job seriously! He's addicted to gadget plays. He's been known to have his quarterback hand off through his legs to a running back. If he had his way, he'd fake punts as often as kick them. Somewhere, Bud Wilkinson is biting his whistle in half. And he's got this completely dopey idea about discipline. He thinks college players need it! OU now graduates 82% of its football players, which -- and I am not exactly sure -- is an 8,200% increase over the Barry Switzer era. The biggest mess a Stoops troop has gotten into is the six traffic tickets amassed by free safety Brandon Everage last month. Hell, Brian Bosworth used to do that on the way to practice. Football coaches are supposed to give it the Full Neuheisel: secretly sniff every job opening while insisting to the fans that you're not going anywhere. Stoops has gotten more offers than a prison hooker, but he hangs up on 'em! He's turned down Pitt, Iowa and Florida, and the Cleveland Browns and the San Francisco 49ers. Coach in Norman, Okla., instead of San Francisco? Were his taste buds removed at birth? "I have a great life here," he says. "What more could I want?" Can we all slap our foreheads in unison? O.K., maybe he wants to go for the Living Legend thing -- stay at one place forever and get the stadium named after him. At 43, Stoops already has 51 wins. At this pace, he'll pass Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden like they were Yugos. "No way," Stoops says. "It's O.K. for them, but I don't want to still be coaching when I'm their age." In fact, sometimes Stoops wonders if he wants to coach at this age. "This job can just get so complicated -- people pullin' on you -- that sometimes I think how great it would be to just go coach the neighborhood kids," he says. "Just be more like my dad was, simple. Simple can be sort of beautiful, you know?" Man, you talk to him.


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