Everyone keeps wondering, “what’s next?” for Bob Stoops? He’s a young man by today’s standards at just 57 years old. He’s got a good personality, although some OU reporters will cite an occasional ornery attitude, is sharp, a fine-looking gentleman, and still has lots to offer. Is it coaching? He insists that is not the case. A run for Governor? Well, it’s too late for the 2018 cycle in Oklahoma. How about television? Eh, he insists he’s not interested.
Stoops recently told The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel, “I’m a little leery. I feel like I’m still close enough to it, I gotta be careful what I say or it becomes news and takes away from the team and OU and Lincoln. So I can’t just go out, start popping off and not have it reflect back. At some point, as I move on, it’ll become my own voice and not OU. But I just feel right now, if I’m talking about … the SEC, I still get attached back to OU, and now they [the Sooners] gotta deal with it. And they shouldn’t have to.”
It’s a great call by Stoops that he knows himself well enough to realize he could not be entirely objective on TV right now. Maybe that changes in five or ten years, but for now, it hasn’t. Plus, he has his sons planning to continue their careers in Norman, so the Sooner blood is still very much alive in the Stoops family.
Could Stoops be great at TV? Absolutely. Hell, even Urban Meyer, who isn’t exactly “Mr. Personality”, was halfway decent between his Florida and Ohio State gigs. In fact, if Bob Stoops wanted to, I think he could be excellent at television. He’s well-spoken, opinionated, photogenic and quick-witted. Think a Rick Neuheisel/Kirk Herbstreit combination.
But I don’t blame him for not jumping at it, and in fact, I don’t think it’s the best use of his time or talents. He was such a vital part of the OU football program last season. I saw him on the field as OU won the Big 12 Championship game and he was like a proud father. Lincoln Riley was his protege and he had recruited every player on the roster. But it was also at that point I realized he was not coming back to coaching. He was overly content with his position behind the scenes.
Bob Stoops’ talents will be welcomed in whatever he decides to do next, but I could see him remaining in more of an advisory role with the OU football program, as well as the University as a whole. Maybe it’s being Athletic Director one day, or even President of the University of Oklahoma. That would allow him to have an impact on not just the University he has grown to love and care about, but also on the young people in and around the OU community.
You can’t do that on television. You fly into a college town, spend some time with the crew, call a game, maybe eat a 20 oz. porterhouse steak with the guys and gals you worked with, jet home, and you’re in bed sometime between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. depending on what time your game kicks off. I don’t see that being satisfying enough for Bob Stoops. He does not seem to miss the notoriety or the limelight, but more the day-to-day grind of coaching, being a part of a team, and helping young men develop on and off the field.
All of these are good problems to have if you’re Bob Stoops. But putting him talents to best use, if he’s not going to coach, is obviously something he takes seriously. Most coaches can’t stand not having a schedule, so they jump into TV. But just like Stoops did by retiring the season before he welcomes back a Heisman contender at QB, while making millions at what most people consider the “peak” of their careers, he’s continuing to break the mold of what we expect.
And it’s been a breath of fresh air to watch it all unfold.