Kelvin Sampson on Mike Stoops

I spoke with Oklahoma Basketball coach Kelvin Sampson this morning about the possible hire of OU co-defensive coordinator Mike Stoops as the next Arizona Football coach. Sampson was the perfect person to talk to about Stoops. Sampson has worked with Stoops in the OU Athletic Department and previously was the head coach at Washington State under Jim Livengood. I asked Sampson if Livengood had called to get his opinion of Stoops.

"Yes, Jim and I talked about Mike," Sampson said.

Since Sampson and Stoops work in the same athletic department, it makes sense that Sampson might know a little bit about Stoops and have some opinions on how well he might do at Arizona.

"I've always been impressed with (Stoops)," Sampson said. "He's a winner. There are just guys who walk into a room and they have a charisma, they have a presence about them and that's Mike."

Sampson went on to say that Stoops has many of the same characteristics he incorporates as coach to get the most out of his players. They are both intense competitors, demanding of their players and hard working. He also said Stoops was a man of integrity.

"There are some guys that are in (coaching) for the wrong reasons," Sampson said. "They're in it for the material gains or whatever, but Mike's in it for the kids. You watch how his kids react to him in practice or in his office. There is no one better with kids than Mike Stoops. He is a lightning rod, he's active and into it. He gets extremely involved (with his players)."

John Mackovic was fired from the Arizona job as much for his inability to communicate with his players, assistant coaches and just as importantly with the community of Wildcat fans. I asked Sampson how Stoops would relate to the players, coaches and fans?

"You say players should be a reflection of their coach," Sampson said. "Well this is a guy that will energize not only his players but the community. He will make people excited about going to the games, because nobody will work harder than Mike Stoops or play harder than his players. He'll push them, he'll inspire them."

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