Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Oklahoma's Stoops Has 'No Interest' in Florida Job

Memo to a lot of Big 12 Conference coaches, players and fans:

Bob Stoops plans to stick around a while longer to continue beating up your teams on the football field.

At least it’s going to take more than an offer from Florida to get Stoops to leave Oklahoma.

That became clear today when he said he has no interest in the Gators’ job.

“I have great respect for the people at Florida and a lot of good memories from my time there, but to end the speculation that is ongoing, I want to make it clear that I have no interest in the position that is currently available there,” Stoops said in a statement issued by Kenny Mossman, Oklahoma’s associate athletic director in charge of media relations.

“It is a privilege to be the head coach at Oklahoma and I am fully concentrating on having the best season we can have, and in building the strongest program we can build.”

After Ron Zook was fired earlier this week, everybody knew Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley would take a shot at hiring Stoops, who was the school’s defensive coordinator when Steve Spurrier was the coach.

Heck, Florida even tried, and failed, to hire Stoops when Spurrier left Florida for the Washington Redskins.

It seems every other athletic director in college coaching and every other owner and general manager in the NFL has tried to hire the guy who lettered at Iowa from 1979-1982. He’s obviously the hottest name in coaching.

It wasn’t long ago, of course, that it appeared Stoops would be coaching at his alma mater.

When Hayden Fry was ready to retire at Iowa, Stoops’ name was at the top of most fans’ wish list as the successor.

But it didn’t happen.

“The talk about Bob Stoops had been around even during the last couple of years Hayden was our coach,” Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby told me. “That was always the package—‘Hayden needs to retire and we need to hire Bob Stoops.’

“Bob had been at a couple of places [Kansas State and Florida] that were different than Iowa. I think he may have thought, and others may have thought, that this should be a turn-key deal. You go out and tap him on the shoulder and offer him ‘X’ amount of dollars and that’s the end of it.

“But it doesn’t work that way. We had a number of quality candidates. I talked with Bob over the course of this process. I called him the first day after Hayden’s retirement [in 1998]—and he was the first guy I called. Through that process, we set up an interview time.”

But the Oklahoma job was also open.

“I was aware that he was talking to Oklahoma as well,”Bowlsby said. “But I had made a commitment to also interview Kirk Ferentz. Untimately, it came down to us interviewing Stoops, and Bob saying at the time, ‘I have an offer on the table, and I’ve got to know right now [where I stand with Iowa].’

“I said, “I’ve given my word that I would interview Kirk Ferentz and would ask you to wait 24 hours until I’ve made good on that obligation.’”

The 24-hour wait did not occur.

“Either it had been done already or it was done later that evening that Stoops told Oklahoma he wanted to go ahead and be their coach,” Bowlsby said.

I don’t blame him. I wasn’t able to credibly give him a wink and a nod at that point because I told Kirk he’d have an opportunity to be considered for the job. I felt I needed to stand by that…..

“If you took 100 football coaches and put them in a room, 99 of them would take the Oklahoma job over the Iowa job…..”

Stoops told me, “I was interviewed by Iowa, but I was never offered the head coaching job. It’s pretty simple. I was already offered the job at Oklahoma.

“In the end, when you’re offered a job at a place and not the other place, you do what you feel is the right thing to do.”


Leave it to Cael Sanderson to show up on the big stage.

The Olympic wrestling champion and Iowa State assistant coach will appear at tonight’s fourth game of the World Series at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

He’ll be there as the guest of Cardinals relief pitcher Steve Kline, who had a 1.79 earned-run average and a 2-2 record this season.

In the off-season, Kline is a youth and high school wrestling coach in Pennsylvania. Even though Kline isn’t activated for the World Series because of a finger injury, he invited Sanderson and his wife, Kelly, to tonight’s game.

Sanderson is scheduled to meet with Cardinals players before the game, and he’ll watch batting practice.

He won an Olympic gold medal in the 2004 Olympics at 185 pounds. At Iowa State, he became the first wrestler in NCAA history to complete his career unbeaten. He had a 159-0 record with four NCAA championships.

St. Louis fans will likely be hoping Sanderson also knows something about baseball so he can teach the Cardinals how to hit and run the bases. They’re on life support after losing the first three games of the World Series.


From the Columbus Dispatch and sent to me by my West Coast Correspondent:

“It’s great to be here at Iowa State,” Jenna Bush said, followed by silence, before correcting her mistake. “'Iowa? Gosh. Ohio State.'”

Oh, well. At least the football teams at Iowa State and Ohio State are about the same this year.

Vol. 4, No. 271
Oct. 27, 2004