The second 2015 College Football Playoffs are just a few days away and with three out of the four teams making their debut in the format, the head coaches have their work cut out for them. Keeping players focused, handling increased media scrutiny, and managing lofty expectations are all par for the course.
Leading up to New Year's Day, the Gospel Herald is taking a look at all four head coaches in an effort to learn more about each man's character and personality as they lead the young men in their charge toward a possible national championship. We've already learned a little about Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. Today we look at Oklahoma Sooners head coach, Bob Stoops.
Head Coach, Oklahoma University
Bursting on the head coaching scene in 1999, Stoops wasted no time returning Oklahoma to the top of the college football heap. During his first season in Norman, Stoops led the Sooners to seven wins and to he program's first bowl game in four years. In only his second year he led the Sooner to an undefeated season and a BCS Championship, defeating Florida State, 13-2, in the 2001 Orange Bowl.
During his 16 years at Oklahoma, Stoops has led the Sooners to nine Big 12 bowl Championships, 11 straight bowl games, and six BCS bowl games. He is the only coach to win all four BCS games (Sugar, Rose, Orange, and Fiesta) and a national championship. In 2013 Stoops became the all-time winningest coach in Oklahoma history, taking over the top spot held by Sooner legend, Barry Switzer.
Stoops' initial success led to the nickname "Big Game Bob", however as his tenure at Oklahoma has developed, he has lost some of that early luster. His record in bowl games is only 8-8 and after a disappointing 8-5 season in 2014, including a 40-6 loss in the Russell Athletic Bowl to none other than the Clemson Tigers, Stoops' long-term future at Oklahoma looked uncertain. With younger brother Mike Stoops back as defensive coordinator (original tenure: 1999-2003), Stoops and Sooner rebounded with an 11-1 season, a berth in the College Football Playoffs, and are currently ranked #4 in the nation.
Away from the football field, Stoops is a Christian and a family man. He and his wife Carol have three children, a daughter, Mackenzie, and twin sons Isaac and Drake. A 1982 graduate of the University of Iowa, Stoops has spent his playing and coaching career in the Midwest, with the exception of three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Florida under then head coach Steve Spurrier. In an interview with Metro Family Magazine, based in Oklahoma City, Stoops said this part of the country suits him and his family just fine.
"I like the overall values of the state-the principles of hard work, good people and integrity," Stoops said. "It's just a great place for kids to grow up and to be involved in the community. It's a wholesome atmosphere, where people are used to working for what they get."
The son of a coach himself, Stoops also says there are a lot of similarities between coaching and parenting and takes his role developing character seriously both on and off the field."I want to be that type of role model for my players and speak to them in a way that they know I care about them," he said. "I want to be a person that both my players and children can look up to and trust. As a parent, I am always trying to motivate and inspire my kids, so I find myself turning into a coach at home, too."
Oklahoma takes on top-ranked Clemson in the Capital One Orange Bowl, on December 31.