Bob Stoops said that Saturdays have been an adjustment without having a game to coach.
But other than that, the former Oklahoma coach said he’s enjoyed his time away from coaching after 18 seasons and a Big 12 record 10 championships with the Sooners.
Stoops left Oklahoma in June, turning over the reigns to Lincoln Riley. Oklahoma has responded with a 4-0 record, topped with an upset at Ohio State that has catapulted them to No. 3 in the nation heading into Saturday’s game against Iowa State.
“You won’t see me on a college sideline or a pro sideline”
Stoops said Monday at the Atlanta Touchdown Club that he’s been approached several times over the years for potential head coaching jobs in college and professional football. But he vowed on Monday to never again coach in college or NFL.
“I will say, regardless of what you might hear out there in the papers, if I intended again to coach that would have been part of my statement,” said Stoops, who retired in June after 18 seasons at Oklahoma. “I would have said I’m stepping away here now for this time for myself but when it comes to the next year or two, I look forward to getting back in it.
“But that’s not what I said. You won’t see me on a college sideline or a pro sideline. A lot of people act like they know and there will be more than a few jobs out there. But that isn’t at all what I’m looking to do.”
Stoops wanted “control of his time”
His move away from coaching stunned observers. Stoops, 58, appears in good health and had just claimed back-to-back Big 12 titles. He won the Big 12 Coach of the Year honors in both seasons.
“Everyone has asked why,” Stoops said. “I had a great team coming back. But the simple reason was that I wanted to control my own time.
“I had a blast and loved my time there. It was incredibly positive. It’s been great and I had a great time and loved it. It’s simply that I wanted my own time.”
Staying in coaching into his 60s never was a career goal for Stoops, who turned 57 last month.
“I always knew I wouldn’t grow very old in this,” he said. “Eighteen and a half years at a place like Oklahoma will fill you up. I’m not one of those guys who are going to do it halfway and not do it as good as I can. And that requires time.”
No surprise with Sooners’ fast start
The presence of Riley also helped convince Stoops the time was good to leave.
“I got to thinking the right guy was here,” Stoops said. “I’ve got the kind of leadership on the team that can handle it. I had some great seniors. None of our other coaches would have to go find job. It’s just the perfect time.”
The Sooners’ quick 4-0 start has been a surprise to some nationally. But Stoops, who delighted in the Sooners’ upset victory at Ohio State in a luxury box, isn’t surprised this group is playing as well as it is.
“I knew this team could handle it well and I knew that Lincoln Riley would do a fabulous job,” Stoops said. “I thought this would be a perfect time to step out.”
Leaving when Stoops did provided Riley with a big boost for his first season.
“As you can tell we’ve had very few ripples at all,” Stoop said. ” We’re rocking along and I also knew leaving a strong team with good leadership would empower him moving forward. It would show that this brand and program will continue on.
“Oklahoma has been in the (national title picture) since Bud Wilkinson. I believe it will rock along.”
Remaining at Oklahoma despite other job offers
Stoops acknowledged on Monday that he was offered various head coaching jobs for other college programs and in the NFL during his stint at Oklahoma.
And he also related the decision he made in December 1998 when Oklahoma and his alma mater Iowa were wooing him.
“Iowa and Oklahoma both were talking to me about being their head coach in the same week,” Stoops said. “Fortunately, one came through and that was Oklahoma. I got a great break and loved my time there.”
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