Oklahoma Football Coach Departure Leaves Questions But Gets A #ThanksBob Hashtag
It’s one of those things when you first see it – in my case the sports ticker crawl on ESPN – that makes you rub your eyes and say “did I just read that correctly?”
After 18 years, Bob Stoops announced his retirement. This was as sudden as lightening kickoff return for a touchdown, a pick-six pass interception, a fumble scooped up and returned for a score.
It was also as unexpected as would be an opening-season loss to UTEP.
Naturally, when something like this happens in sports, the cynical side of us sportswriters comes out; after all you just don’t suddenly wake up one day and retire. Certainly not a coach, whose competitive fire burns at all hours nearly every day of the year and for years.
Since there’s no impending NCAA sanctions – such as Hugh Freeze is facing at Ole Miss – or Bobby Petrio-style scandal, my first thought was it was a health issue.
“I understand there has been some speculation about my health,” Stoops stated in a statement put out by the school. “My health was not the deciding factor in this decision and I’ve had no incidents that would prevent me from coaching.
“I feel the timing is perfect to hand over the reins.”
I’m still not convinced there’s not something there with his health, but for now I’ll take him at his word. After all, there has to be something. The timing of the retirement just doesn’t make any sense.
Yes, he’s got two sons who are being recruited for their football skills and he probably wants to be able to see them play more on Friday nights and even help them with the recruiting process. But if that were the lone reason for him stepping down then he would have done it some other time, say after (or just before) the bowl game.
I’m not quite sure what to make of this just now, but I’ll bet there’s more to this coming out later. Maybe it’s related to Joe Mixon.