Former Oklahoma assistant coach Bobby Jack Wright was known among the media as the best storyteller of all the coaches.
He gave everybody one last glimpse why in a 42-minute sendoff interview with a selected group of media members Tuesday afternoon.
Here’s what he said.
On what it feels like to retire:
It’s certainly different. It has been kind of fun. My wife and I, came to the decision that it was time. We felt good about it ever since that time. It’s actually kind of of an exciting time because it’s a little bit different. It’s a different part of my life. It’s a different stage in my life that certainly I don’t have any experience in. It’s kind of exciting, we’re looking forward to it and it’s a very positive thing from that standpoint. Positive for me, for my life, for my family, and we’re looking forward to it.
On when he made the decision:
Oh, I think actually I’ve been struggling if you will, guess that’s a good word, we’ve been kicking it around, knocking it back and forth for probably almost a year. We finally in the last week kind of – it just felt right for me. You know, it’s time. As you guys know, you’ve read the articles, it’s been 42 years. And I appreciate somebody putting that in there because I had lost count of how many actual seasons it has been. 42 years, that’s a long run. It’s been a good run, a fun run. It has been a great, great profession to be a part of. Certainly the 16 years here at the University of Oklahoma have been very, very special to me, my family. It’s been a great run, a lot of fun, wonderful, wonderful friends we’ve made here, great fans, great support and good media people, too, actually, you all have been wonderful to me. And I appreciate that. Like I said, it has been a great run, and I recommend it for everybody.
On whether he expected to be there this long:
You know, I can’t say that I did to be honest with you. Anytime you think you’re gonna be at a place, in the coaching profession, for 16 seasons, it’s pretty unrealistic. It just doesn’t happen. I’ve been very fortunate and very blessed to have been at only two places for 29 years. I was at the University of Texas for 13 years and then came here in ‘99 with Bob and been here 16 years. To only to have to move my family one time in 29-year period is really pretty special. As most of you know, I have three daughters. We were able to raise them all for the most part here in Norman, all three have graduated from the University of Oklahoma, proud to say. My youngest daughter is still in grad school at the OU health science center there in Oklahoma City. We’ve been very, very blessed and really fortunate. I’ve been blessed in this coaching career for this last stop, 16 years at the University of Oklahoma and 16 years working for what I consider the best coach in college football. Bob Stoops is without a doubt one of the best coaches in the college game. Great, great football coach, but better than that, great man, great friend. A guy I enjoyed being around, enjoyed working for, enjoyed coming to work every day. When I say coming to work every day, I’m lying. I never worked a day I was here. It was fun. I had fun. I played the game every day for 16 years at University of Oklahoma, and it was special to me.
On what he’ll miss:
Oh gosh, I don’t know. There will be a lot of things I’m going to miss. It’s going to be hard to say what I’m going to miss the most. Probably the camaraderie with the coaches and players. Certainly that’s what it’s all about in our business – the relationship you have with your fellow coaches and certainly the relationship you have with those young kids that you coach and work with and those guys that sit in those seats there behind us. I’ll miss those relationships. The other part I’ll miss is the competition. The fun of going out and competing every Saturday, the high you get when you go and compete on a Saturday afternoon or Saturday night. The thrill of all that, those things probably just off the top of my head when you ask that question, those three things that come out real quick to me. The coaches, the players and competing.
On going off into the sunset:
Well, you know, I don’t know how valuable I am. Probably not very, but I appreciate you saying that. I don’t know if I’m riding off into the sunset. I’m certainly stepping away from the coaching part of it. Who knows where it’s going to go? I haven’t had time to wrap my head around it yet. Maybe something down the road may be available. If it fits me, great. But we’ll see.
On leaving Norman:
No, no, I’m not going to do any of that just yet. We’re going to stay – got all our children here. Son-in-laws and grandkids, we’re planning on sticking around for a while.
On not recruiting Thursday:
I don’t know how weird it’s gonna be that everybody else is going out recruiting and I’ll be at the golf course, but I got a feeling it’s gonna be pretty good. That’s weather permitting. It will be different, no doubt about that. For 42 years been going on the road and flying somewhere and going to visit somebody. It will be a change, but I’m good with it. Really and truly. I’m good with it. I’m really happy about it. Excited about it and looking forward to it. Like I said, 42 years is a long time, and it was just time. I felt like for me it’s time.
On what Bob Stoops’ pitch was to hire him:
He really had a hard time getting me up here. He said, ‘Hey, I want to hire you,’ and I said, ‘I’ll be on the next flight!’ The reason for that, I had been at Texas for a long time, and I was with three different head coaches, and they had just let John Mackovic go, and they hired Mack Brown and Mack didn’t keep anybody. Bob (Stoops) had gotten the job here, so he called and offered me the job and literally, I was on the first plane out of Austin the next morning and came to work for Bob the day after he got the job, and he and I hit the road, jumped in a plane and hit the road recruiting. Sixteen years later, it was a pretty good run.
On being one of the first guys on the staff with Bob Stoops in 1999:He and I were the first two to go out and hit the road, yeah. No question. Do you want to hear a funny story about that one? Well I’m on the road, and I fly into Oklahoma City, somebody picks me up and they bring me over here and Bob and I were visiting. He’s got to do obviously a lot of stuff here before he can get on the road. But anyway, the next day, he and I take off and we’re out recruiting and I leave him and I’m going to Houston to do some recruiting down there and he’s going to come down and meet me. So I talk to him on the telephone and I’m running around in Houston visiting different schools and he says he’s going to jump on a plane down to Houston and I’ll pick him up. I said, ‘Alright, what flight are you on?’ He told me and I said, ‘Alright, you’ll be here by so-and-so, I’m going to hit a couple of schools, I’ll pick you up at the airport,’ at whatever time – 3 p.m. – and this is like about noon so around 1 p.m. I get a call on my cell phone and it’s Bob and I answer the phone and I say, ‘Yeah Bob, what’s up?’ He says, ‘Where are you at?’ I said, ‘What do you mean where am I at? I’m down here in Houston. I just told you that.’ And he said, ‘Well I’m at the airport waiting for you, are you going to pick me up?’ I looked at my watch and I said, ‘One hour…’ I said, ‘What? Bob, you can’t possibly be in Houston.’ He said, ‘Yeah, I’m in Houston! Are you going to pick me up?’ I said, ‘Bob, you can’t be here that quick, there’s no flight to get you here that fast.’ And he said, ‘Well, I’m just telling you I’m here, and I’m ready for you to pick me up.’ I said, ‘Where are you standing? Where are you actually?’ He said, ‘I’m standing right out here underneath the sign that says Dallas Love Field.' I said, ‘You’re in Dallas.’ He said, ‘Oh my gosh! I shouldn’t have gotten off that flight. So he turned around and ran back inside and he was able to catch the flight that was going – the same flight it was just stopping in Dallas to let people off. So he ran in there, got back in the plane and flew off back down to Houston and I picked him up. That’s kind of how our experience started out recruiting. To his defense, you have to understand the whirlwind he was going through as a new head coach at the University of Oklahoma, and he had a million of irons in the fire and hiring people and doing all the paperwork and everything as far as the job was concerned and then rushing out and trying to recruit and all that. So when they landed, he had his mind on a million other things and everyone started getting up and walking off the plane, he got off and followed them off. But that is one of my favorite stories of recruiting with Bob, that first day out. He got off at the wrong time.