Stoops talks about getting the Dodd Award

Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops was awarded with the Prestigous Bobby Dodd Award Thursday in Oklahoma City. See inside for Stoops' comments about his latest honor, his father's influence, Barry Switzer and the future of the BCS. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops was honored as the Bobby Dodd Foundation 2003 Coach of the Year on Thursday at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.

The Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award (established in 1976) was named after the former Georgia Tech coach and honors the Division 1 college football coach of a team which enjoys a successful season on the field while stressing the importance of academic excellence and a sense of duty to return something back to the community.

Stoops, who was accompanied by his wife Carol, daughter Mackenzie and twin sons Issac and Drake, was honored as the 27th recipient of the Bobby Dodd Foundation Coach of the Year award and spoke to the media about what the award means to him, his family and his program.

"I want to thank the Bobby Dodd Foundation for recognizing me. And really, I look at it as recognizing our program here at the University of Oklahoma. I am fortunate to get my name on the list with guys like Bo Schembechler, Tom Osborne and Ken Hatfield, who coach, I want to thank you for being here today. I really appreciate that and I have tremendous respect for you and I have great respect for you watching you through the years and how you compete and play. You set a great example. All of these guys have.

"It is very humbling to go down and read the list of Eddie Robinson, and it goes on-and-on to people like Joe Paterno who are on this list, and it is very humbling. I am appreciative of you recognizing our program that way."

"I do say the program, because I do have great assistant coaches who worked with me and I am nothing without them. We have a great administration that supports us in a great way. I am so appreciative of my players, and to me this award recognizes them and their achievements and hard work. Nobody works harder than our kids do in the weight room, training and practice. They compete so hard in our physical practices and how we get after it, and it has resulted in some positive wins.

"However, I am more appreciative of them in how they have conducted themselves. In today's time with all that is going on, I feel very fortunate and blessed that I get to work with the players that I do every day. So much is talked about the few negatives that are out there and for 99 percent of us, not just us here at Oklahoma, we are working with great young men. These young men are solid citizens, who work hard to do the right things. I feel fortunate again and I appreciate our team — how hard they work, how they work and how they have represented the University of Oklahoma.

"I want to thank my wife Carol and my children for being here day. The time that I have to spend away from the office, for speaking engagements, or for whatever responsibilities that I have, Carol is the best at understanding it and giving me great advice. I appreciate her and my children in a great way. Winning is special and wining awards such as this are special, but they pail in relationship with your family and the relationships with my players and coaches.

"I do appreciate this award for bringing it to Oklahoma. You have a special award for the way you do this. I have been fortunate to be involved in many others, and I am not at all being critical of any of them, so don't take this the wrong way. However, to have to somewhere all the time you are their guest speaker for the day. For you to come here tells you that you put great effort to make your award special. I appreciate that, to bring so many people to Oklahoma to his great event and share with all of us. We appreciate that and once again thank you for recognizing our entire program, not just myself, but all of us associated with the program here at Oklahoma."

JAMES HALE: Bob, I know you love college football and you study the sport, so would you please talk about what the achievements of coaches like Coach Dodd, and many others that have won this award mean to you as a current collegiate coach?

STOOPS: "I am not going to sit here and pretend that I knew Coach Dodd, because he was before my time. However, I have read up on him since I have been recognized for this award and seen videos on him, and I appreciate again the foundation for sending me a great deal of information, and I read every bit of it. I have read all the comments from coaches that did know Coach Dodd, know of his reputation and what he stood for. Again, he didn't stand for just wins and losses, but for doing things the right way. So much was talked about his relationship with his players. I really believe in that. He set a great example for so many colleges that followed him. For those coaches that did know him are passing along his way of doing things to us younger guys who are coming up and earning our stripes. That is what it is all about. To set a right example, to do things the right way and be very successful."

BILL HAISTEN: Bob, what do you think of the fact that if you open your season 2-0 that you will become the top head coach of all-time at OU percentage-wise?

STOOPS: "You noticed how he said it in a positive way, because we could have won the last two this year and done it. I don't get into percentages and try to beat anybody individually that way, so I don't look at anything that way. It has been well-stated from me about my respect for Coach (Barry) Switzer and Coach (Bud) Wilkinson, who did a great job and there are many others in there too. Obviously, their National Championshipa, their conference championships and winning percentages and just their great tradition of winning was tremendous.

"I can't say if we do that it would mean a whole lot to me. However, it is going to mean a whole lot to me if we can go undefeated next year and win a National Championship. That is what we are after and that is team championships, whether they are Big 12 or national. That is all really my intentions are and that is being the very best we can be and trying to win team championships.

"I totally respect the job that Coach Wilkinson did in getting it built. Then Coach Switzer, as he likes to say, 'feeding the monster' and keeping it rolling. I will say that Coach Switzer tried to warn that things weren't going to always be so easy. He was laughing one day and we were at a function together. I said, 'Coach, you were in six National Championship games and only won three of them.' He knew what I was getting at and he looked at me and said, 'you so-and-so do, you think you are going to win every dang one of them that you are in?' I thought of him as I was leaving the field there in Louisiana, that he was right. I guess he burst my bubble and I realized that you don't win every one of them.

"You don't win as much as he did without doing things the right way. I think too much is talked about with coach in a fun way that he did this or that, what a character he was. He was a great coach too. You talk to any one of his players and they tell of the great love they have for him. They knew he had it for them too. You don't win as much as he did, all those championships and all those games, without doing things the right way as well.

"All these coaches set great examples in a lot of ways that we still try to use in building this program. When we started building this program, with our staff, something that we really latched on to was our tradition and our history. I think you would agree that we didn't have a whole lot of positives to latch on to when we came to Oklahoma. In our first season (1999) what we had, and not many do, was our history and our tradition. We were strong at putting in front of our players that this is what we were supposed to be."

HOMER RICE: Bob, could you talk about your father and what he meant to you?

STOOPS: "Yeah, my father was special. He would be tickled ,and I believe he is at how I am doing. I am always asked if I feel that he knows how I am doing and I believe he does. I believe he is watching it and seeing it. When I think of my father I think of a man. Here is a dad that put six children through school, and I think the most he every made in his life was 22 thousand dollars. However, we didn't need for anything and we had everything.

"He never pushed sports on us, but with him we were always around it. If it wasn't football season then it was baseball, and he was a great baseball player. He played hardball until he couldn't see the ball anymore and then he had to go to fastpitch softball, because the ball was bigger. We were with him at games and we were allowed to go all the time. Whoever wanted to go just piled into the car with him. After football season then it was basketball season and he was the scorekeeper at all the games. We were at every basketball game. On Saturday he was referee at all the intramural games and we were there at the ball fields. Wwhenever we were with him we were around sports.

"Without feeding it to us, that was what we knew. I appreciate him because of his competitiveness. When I think of him, outside of the love for our family and all of that, he taught us how to compete. That is a great lesson to learn, and that is how to compete and how to do it in the right way. You could see he was a competitor, without him ever telling us that. You could see it in the game he played. My thoughts of him are special to think back and realize how fortunate I was to be brought up that way."

JAMES HALE: Bob, the fact you are leader and role model for your players is a big part of winning this award. Can you explain your philosophy in this area and what you try to get across to your team?

STOOPS: "That is always hard for me to explain, because I don't want to sound like I am any better than anybody else. I just try to do the very best I can to try and be there for our players — to always be there in whatever problems they have they deal with football or not.

"I try to teach them to concern themselves with other people. Our players know that we as coaches on our staff care about them as people and individuals. They are not just players and not just about winning games. When they are with us they are with us for life. I still get letters and calls from players I coached at Florida, Kansas State and everywhere else helping them call people for jobs, writing letters of recommendation, or doing whatever else I can do to help them. Again, I don't believe that I am the only coach that does that.

"In our profession that is what all of us are trying to do, and that is to be there and support and help our guys to do the right things. On the few occasions when things haven't been that way, I believe they are rare, rare occasions. There are a great many coaches in this profession that are always trying to help young guys build there lives."

MEDIA: Would you like to see the fifth BCS game somewhere locally like in Texas or somewhere close?

STOOPS: "I don't think they mean a lot to us where they are located. I have liked the ones that I have been in. I don't care where they are at. The one in the Orange Bowl in Miami was pretty nice. The one at the Sugar Bowl was petty nice, but it would have been nicer I guess if we had won."

MEDIA: It seems like you have played against teams in both the Orange Bowl and the Sugar Bowl who had what amounted to home field advantage?

STOOPS: "Yeah, but that doesn't matter. It didn't matter in one game and it didn't really matter in the other game in my opinion. They are all great and special, and if they had one closer to here that would be great also for people in this area. However, as far as us as coaches, I haven't been in a bad one in my time. If they get one in this area, great."

MEDIA: How has the BCS formula effected your scheduling?

STOOPS: "I think it has forced a lot of people to play tough people in the non-conference portion of their season. I know that we always try to play a competitive non-conference schedule and that is something that we will always try to do."

JAMES HALE: Do you like the fact there is going to be a fifth BCS game?

STOOPS: "Yeah, I think it is great. There is room for it and it gives two more teams that opportunity and it gives two more conferences that weren't involved before an opportunity."

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