In the immediate aftermath of the 2019 Big 12 Championship Game, with Oklahoma players and coaches celebrating on the AT&T Stadium field, I bumped into former coach Bob Stoops and joked that it was a surprise to see him. Shouldn’t he be in Tallahassee, Fla., getting his new Florida State program off the ground?
Stoops laughed and responded, “Did you hear the one where I was negotiating with USC?”
And here we go again.
Stoops’ name came up on various watch lists Monday in the hours following USC’s decision to fire coach Clay Helton, because of course it did. Stoops is the all-time winningest coach in Oklahoma history and a rare commodity as a national championship coach, still only 61, who chose to walk away early.
While yes, it’s fun to laugh at erroneous dispatches like the 2019 reports that had Stoops accepting the Florida State job — Mike Norvell might wish Stoops had after FSU’s loss to Jacksonville State — and negotiating with USC even though USC still had a coach at the time, let’s resist that urge today and focus on the practical. Does Stoops to USC make sense?
The answer is probably not.
Since his shocking retirement in the summer of 2017, Stoops’ name has been linked to almost every major opening, but the only coaching job he’s actually taken was with the XFL’s Dallas Renegades. It was perfect for Stoops. He could be around the guys again. He could focus on the X’s and O’s and compete. But he didn’t have to deal with midnight phone calls or player arrests or boosters or recruiting or any of the other stuff of which he’d grown weary.