Loyalty has become a common word used in Oklahoma sports in the last year. It’s a state that saw its first NBA superstar in Kevin Durant depart the Oklahoma City Thunder for the rival Golden State Warriors on July 4.
This last weekend saw former Oklahoma State basketball coach Brad Underwood, coming off a great first season in Stillwater, leave for Illinois when OSU and Underwood couldn’t agree on a new, multi-year contract.
And then there’s Oklahoma. Nope, nothing new with Lon Kruger as the Sooners just earned their biggest commitment in his tenure with five-star point guard Trae Young.
And definitely nothing worth writing about when it comes to Bob Stoops. Although maybe the fact there’s nothing new to say is actually worth saying after all.
Tuesday will mark the 19th spring practice for Stoops in Norman. A lot has changed around college football, but Stoops is standing strong.
“I’m loyal to my president and athletic director,” Stoops said. “They’re the guys that hired me, and they have continued to support—not just support us, but continued to put us in a position to chase championships and to win ‘em.
“You know, just the last several years, the dorm project and now the stadium project, to continue to move the program forward shows also their loyalty to the program and wanting to continue to move it forward.
“Hopefully that’s recognized, because it’s important to me. I’ve never taken that for granted. I know when I said I had an opportunity to leave Florida after my first year with a couple of head coaching opportunities, I said no. Part of the reason, these guys (Florida) brought me on, we won a national championship and now I’m gonna leave? You know, good for me, but I felt like I needed to be there longer. Sort of earn your stripes, earn your way, and I felt like I needed to be there a couple more years. Fortunately, then Oklahoma became an option.”
With President Boren and athletic director Joe Castiglione leading the charge, yea, OU has been one of the most stable jobs in the country.
Stoops has been in Norman so long that it’s safe to say he might be more of an Oklahoman at this point than the kid who grew up in Youngstown, Ohio.
“No doubt. Absolutely. I go home—no one can recognize my accent here, but I go home and they don’t know where I’m from either,” Stoops said. “I’ve kind of crossed between Youngstown and Oklahoma. But definitely, I left Youngstown at 17 to go to Iowa, so I’ve been here longer than anywhere, no doubt.”