OU football: Bob Stoops' interest in coaching means more teams will have interest in him
Maybe a few.
Maybe a bunch.
But rest assured one of the most successful college football coaches of all time has gotten a ring when prominent programs have had openings. They called even though Stoops said he was done coaching when he walked away on June 7, 2017. They called because his success made it worth their time to check.
They called because you just never know.
Except now we do know.
Thursday afternoon in what will go down as one of the weirdest scenes of all time – Stoops with a goatee coming on stage with blaring rock-and-roll walk-up music – the former Sooner coach was introduced as the first head coach and general manager in the reboot of the XFL. His team doesn’t yet have a name. Or a mascot. Or a color scheme.
It is being called the Dallas franchise, but the team is set to play in Arlington, so who knows?
But what we absolutely know is that Stoops wants to coach again.
It’s true what many have said – the XFL looks to be part-time coaching instead of full-time. Stoops can still live in Norman. Keep his job fundraising and gladhanding for OU athletics. Be there for his college-aged kids’ events on campus.
But part-time coaching is still coaching.
And for the last couple years, it didn’t seem like coaching would be in Stoops’ future. Sure, he talked of being restless and bored, but would there ever come a job that lured him back?
Answer: the XFL.
Oliver Luck seems like a stand-up guy, and Vince McMahon is sure to spring for lots of pyrotechnics, but if Stoops was swayed by the XFL, surely serious-minded college programs and pro franchises suspect they have a shot at wooing him now. The number of calls Stoops is going to get from such suitors is about to go up.
Yes, he signed a two-year contract with the XFL, and over the years, we’ve learned he is a guy who honors his commitments. But we also learned during his nearly two decades as the OU head coach that he is extremely detail oriented. Every move has a reason within a grander plan. Every decision is connected to a larger vision.
So, how does this move to the XFL tie into Stoops’ vision?
Seeing what professional football is all about is likely part of it. Stoops has never spent a day in pro ball. He went from playing to coaching college ball at Iowa, then moved to Kansas State, Florida and OU. The XFL is pro football light, but it gives Stoops a low-risk chance to get behind the curtain and see what the scene is like.
Maybe it’s not for him.
But maybe he loves it.
Even before he makes up his mind, you can bet teams will be calling. Think of it this way – had Stoops made this move a year ago, you suppose the Green Bay Packers might’ve given him a call about their head coaching vacancy?
Or the Denver Broncos?
Or the Cleveland Browns?
To be honest, Stoops being back in coaching may impact some future decisions.
Take the Baltimore Ravens, for example. They have shown an affinity for Stoops’ Sooners over the years, drafting seven who were recruited and/or coached by him. No other team drafted more of his players during his tenure. Baltimore clearly likes how Stoops does business.
This past season, the Ravens considered letting John Harbaugh go but ultimately decided to retain the coach. Might the Ravens have made a different decision had they known Stoops was an option?
What about the Jaguars, who retained Doug Marrone?
Or the Cowboys, who kept Jason Garrett?
Heck, Jerry Jones decided against a contract extension for Garrett, whose deal runs out after next season. Stoops will have an office just across the parking lot from JerryWorld. Jerry wouldn’t have to call. He could just pop in.
I’m not sure who’s going to be calling on Bob Stoops, but I’m sure the volume is going up.
Might want to make sure that cell plan has unlimited minutes, Coach.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 405-475-4125 or email@example.com. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.