The National Football Foundation will hold its 63rd annual awards dinner on Dec. 7 in Las Vegas, Nev. when former Cardinal Mooney grid standout Bob Stoops will be inducted into the College Hall of Fame in recognition of his career as head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners.
Stoops stands alone as the only coach of the BCS era to win a national championship (2000) and all four BCS bowls—the Rose (over Washington State to cap the 2002 season), Fiesta (over Connecticut in 2010), Sugar (over Alabama in 2013) and Orange (over Florida State to clinch the 2000 title).
Oklahoma’s all-time winningest coach, Stoops posted 190-48 record for a 79.8 winning percentage during his remarkable 18-year tenure, returning the Sooners to one of the elite programs in college football.
Prior to his arrival at Oklahoma, the proud Sooner program was five years removed from a winning record and hadn’t produced double-digit victories since 1987. Coaching at Oklahoma from 1999-2016, Stoops never had a losing record en route to a school record 190 career wins, including 14 seasons of 10-plus victories (the most of an FBS coach from 2000-16). He led the Sooners to four BCS National Championship Game appearances, winning the 2000 national title after a perfect 13-0 season that culminated with a win over Florida State in the Orange Bowl. Leading OU to a bowl game in each of his 18 seasons (a school record), Stoops claimed nine postseason victories, including wins in the Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar bowls.
Stoops grew-up in a football family where he father, Ron, was an assistant coach under legendary Don Bucci at Cardinal Mooney High School. Playing for the Cardinals in the 1976 and 1977 season, Stoops earned All Steel Valley Conference second team laurels as a defensive back as a junior, and during his senior year he was tabbed for first-time All-SVC recognition as a split end.
Stoops had 27 catches for 683 yards, including ten for touchdowns while at Mooney. His ten TD grabs are still tied for the most in Mooney history (with Bob Terlecky and Dave Vecchione). He took his success to the University of Iowa, where he became a four-year starter and All-Big 10 defensive back.
During his Hawkeye career, Stoops made 230 tackles with eight interceptions. He was a member of the 1981 Big Ten championship team that played in the Rose Bowl. A season later, he was named team captain and most valuable player. After his playing and coaching days at Iowa, Stoops spent a year at Kent, seven at Kansas State, and three at Florida before becoming head coach at Oklahoma in 1999.
“My blessing was coming up under (Iowa) coach (Hayden) Fry and all those great assistants—Kirk Ferentz, Dan McCarney, Barry Alvarez, Bill Brashier, Bill Snyder,” Stoops said. “I came up under the best coaches in the country with those assistant coaches and coach Fry together. Going with coach Snyder and developing Kansas State from the ground up was a huge learning experience. It topped-off being around Steve Spurrier (at Florida), who is an incredible coach. I have been around great people.”
Several years ago, Coach Stoops was interviewed by a sports scribe, and left a lasing impression on the writer and the lessons learned from the coach—
1) Surround yourself with great people. Coach Stoops played for his father Ron Sr. at Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Ohio. He later went on to play for Hall of Fame coach Hayden Fry, then coached with Hall of Fame coach Barry Alverez, Hall of Fame coach Bill Snyder, and Hall of Fame coach Steve Spurrier to just name a few. He was always surrounded by great men in his own program and continues to stay connected to great coaches and players!
2) See the field (big picture). During the interview, Coach Stoops talked about how his dad taught him a lesson while watching game film in the kitchen as it projected in the refrigerator. He said most people watch the ball during the play, but his dad taught him to see the game. What he was talking about is how they would watch the same play over and over and over until they could see every angle.
3) Compartmentalize success. Don’t be afraid to change it up each year. One of the stories he shared was how he would take his players to the basketball court one week for some competition to change up practice. He was animated as he shared stories about some of the big lineman dunking the basketball and shooting long range jumpers. What do you need to change up in your daily practices in the workplace?
4) Make others feel important. One of the questions I asked was about the importance of volunteering. He said when visiting with kids at the OU Children’s Hospital, it was important to make the kids feel important.
5) Have a purpose. During the end of the interview, Coach Stoops made a comment that he had found his purpose during his hospital visits. When you know your purpose, life is just different—It’s intentional and choices are easier to make in our every day. Do you know your purpose?
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Bob Stoops is one of six children born to Ron Sr. and Evelyn ‘Dee Dee’ Stoops. Ron Sr. was the long-time defensive coordinator of the Cardinal Mooney football team. Bob and his three brothers, Ron Jr., Mike, and Mark were all coached by Ron Sr. at Mooney. Ron Jr. is currently an assistant football coach at Cardinal Mooney (after a stint as assistant coach at YSU); while Mike is currently defensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic (having previously served as head coach at Arizona); and Mark is head coach for the Kentucky Wildcats.
This article was republished here with permission from the Boardman News.