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Bob Stoops Retiring from University of Oklahoma After 18 Seasons, 10 Big 12 Titles



Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops will inform his team on Wednesday that he will retire after 18 seasons at the helm in Norman.

Stoops will not coach the 2017 season.

The retirement is not thought to be related to his health or anything regarding NCAA penalties for OU from the NCAA. Stoops, at age 56, just wants out after nearly two decades and two hands’ worth of Big 12 rings.

“After 18 years at the University of Oklahoma, I’ve decided to step down as the head football coach,” Stoops said in a statement. “I understand there has been some speculation about my health. 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.

“The program is in tremendous shape. We have outstanding players and coaches and are poised to make another run at a Big 12 and national championship. We have new state-of-the-art facilities and a great start on next year’s recruiting class. The time is now because Lincoln Riley will provide a seamless transition as the new head coach, capitalizing on an excellent staff that is already in place and providing familiarity and confidence for our players. Now is simply the ideal time for me and our program to make this transition.”

As Stoops noted, offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, age 33 (!), will take over, effective immediately, and he will not be an interim coach. He is the new head man at OU — which means his offseason raise to $1.3 million makes a little bit (or a lot) more sense.

The most shocking part about all of this is the timing. Stoops is calling it quits a week into June a few days after he made the in-state caravan rounds. That’s a little … bizarre. But it seems to have been motivated by the fact that Lincoln Riley is the next big thing.

“It was with sadness that I learned of the decision of Coach Bob Stoops to step down as head football coach at Oklahoma,” said OU president David Boren. “Coach Stoops has made a critically important and lasting contribution to the OU football program. He has led to its restoration as one of the top programs in the nation. His success has helped provide the momentum for major new facilities like the improvements and expansion of the football stadium. Because of his unquestioned personal integrity and high standards, he is one of the most admired college football coaches in America.

“His decision to step down at this time was motivated partly by his belief that he has the right successor already in place in the program, Lincoln Riley, and he wanted to pass the leadership on at a time of strength for the program. His decision is typical of his unselfishness and always putting first the best interest of the players and program.”

“I’m especially thankful for being able to coach so many talented young men over my 18 years here,” added Stoops. “It has been so rewarding to see these players come to OU and mature over a four or five-year career, and not just on the field. To play a small part in their growth is what I will always cherish the most.

“None of my success would have happened without the best fans in the country. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated the 110 consecutive home sellouts. The passion of our fan base is unmatched, and their support has played a huge role in not only home games, but road games and all 18 of our bowl games, as well.

“The coaching life is like a relay race and I’m thankful for my turn and am confident as I pass the baton. Carol and I intend on staying in Norman — it is our home. I will be available to Coach Riley and the athletic department in any manner. Thank you all for a lifetime of memories we shared together of 10 conference championships, the 2000 national championship, strong relationships with players and coaches, and the great Oklahoma football fans. Boomer!”

Stoops finishes with a 190–48 record including 121-29 in the Big 12 and 14-4 against Oklahoma State. His only national championship came during the 2000 season in a win over Florida State in the Orange Bowl.


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