Bob Stoops had already started to groom Lincoln Riley
“There’s two aspects of this story that I think you have to throw into the ‘shocking’ narrative, whether it’s shocking or expected.
One is that it happened at all. Those of us in college football knew that Bob Stoops was starting to groom Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma was starting to groom Lincoln Riley, and that this was a matter of time.
Remember now, Lincoln Riley got a three-year contract from the University of Oklahoma. That’s the first three-year contract that any assistant coach has ever gotten in the history of the program.
At that point, I understood that there was a clock on Bob Stoops, and it was three years.”
John David MercerJohn David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
What's shocking is that Stoops left on June 7th
“Lincoln Riley, at the end of that contract or somewhere in between was going to become the head coach of the Sooners.
Now, that it happened this quickly, I think, was the shocking part. Just the timing of it - that it happened in June and it wasn’t announced, say, before a bowl game or before a last game or before spring football. That’s the shocking part for me is just the timing aspect.”
Mark D. SmithMark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Stoops wanted this to be a peaceful transition
“It’s less about Lincoln Riley and it’s more about the structure of the program. The biggest rival that Oklahoma has is the University of Texas, and Bob Stoops has been in football, around football and a football man for his entire life. Remember, his father was a football coach. So he understands and he sees what happens to other coaches. He sees what happens to other programs, and I think one of the things Bob wanted to avoid more than anything was a messy transition, a messy transition of power.
Because he sees what happens at Texas when Mack Brown leaves, he saw what happened at Tennessee when Phillip Fulmer left, he saw what happened at Alabama when they were in the wilderness before Nick Saban kind of saved them. All of those things influenced what Stoops wanted to do.”
Derick E. HingleDerick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Stoops hopes Oklahoma can flourish the way Florida State did after a transition
“What Stoops wanted to model this after was more of the Florida State Bowden to Jimbo Fisher, to the Stanford Harbaugh to David Shaw. The peaceful transition of power. So it was more about where the program is fiscally, infrastructure wise as well as recruiting base - and less about is Lincoln Riley specifically the right guy for the job.
They fell upon Lincoln Riley a couple of years ago when they made some staff changes. They all like him, whether it’s the administration and/or the coaches and the coaching staff and Bob Stoops himself. And they feel like this is the point where the program is primed for success whether Bob is there or not.
So that’s why this decision is being made. And like I said, I think it’s less Lincoln-specific and more program-specific.”
Kevin JairajKevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
This wasn't about running away from potential trouble
Jason Whitlock: “Let me circle back to Bob Stoops … Dede Westbrook in controversy, Baker Mayfield in controversy, Joe Mixon in controversy. Do you think any of the problems Bob Stoops had with his players off the field had anything to do with this?”
Joel Klatt: “I don’t. And part of that is I know Joe Castiglione, the athletic director, David Boren, the president … all of these guys, while they might have handled some of those situations differently, I don’t think anything was devious, if you will. I don’t think there’s anything in the cupboard, he’s not running from something.
You can make an argument that Pete Carroll left USC at a convenient time right before the sanctions came down. I don’t think that’s going to happen at Oklahoma. Now, do I know that to be 100 percent true? No, I don’t, I just have a hunch that it’s truly Bob Stoops’ timing, and this is why.
It has more to do with his family and his family history, than I think something coming down the road for the Oklahoma program.”
Mark D. SmithMark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Stoops has always wanted to retire at this age
“In October of 1988, his father Ron was coach, a defensive coordinator at Cardinal Mooney, the high school in Youngstown, Ohio. His oldest brother, Ron Jr., was an assistant coach at a neighboring high school, and they played each other in October of 1988. Bob Stoops’ father, Ron, died that night of a massive heart attack on the field. He was 54 years old.
Bob Stoops has always said the mid-50s were his timing to get out of coaching, I think in large part due to what happened with his family and his family history, specifically that incident in October of 1988. Therefore, that to me makes a lot more sense just philosophically than running from some hypothetical controversy that could be coming down the road. This just makes sense, timing-wise, for Bob Stoops.”