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A Look Inside A Coach\'s Office: Bob Stoops

by: Rex Lardner
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Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops, now entering his sixth campaign in Norman, is approaching the near legendary status of some of his predecessors – namely Bennie Owen, Bud Wilkinson, and Barry Switzer. With a National Championship, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, and a 55-11 overall record entering the fall, the Sooner tradition is clearly continuing.

We spoke with Coach Stoops about the Oklahoma tradition from his office as part of American Football Monthly’s new section Open Door Policy – an inside look at the office of a head football coach. Not just the inner-workings of a day in the life of a coach, but what goes on behind the scenes; that is, the good, the bad, and the unusual. It’s an intimate look inside a coach’s den...

AFM: What was the feeling like as you entered your office for the first time, following a number of legendary Oklahoma coaches?
Coach Stoops: When I first became coach, we were in temporary offices and in the process of reconstructing a number of offices. We were really working out of a trailor. I didn’t feel the awe of the job but just went right to work with a video machine and got right down to work. We had a lot to do. It was also a great opportunity to meet as many people as I could.

AFM: How is your office used? Do you have staff and position coach meetings? Do you visit with recruits? Is there much time spent on the phone and at the computer?
Coach Stoops: I use it primarily for football-related activities-meetings with coaches, players, recruits and a lot of administrative work as well... I’ve found that more and more people want just ten minutes of my time – we try to accommodate as many as we can.

AFM: If you were only allowed to take one thing from your office, what would it be?
Coach Stoops: I’d like to take care of the rings and watches that I have collected over the years, many of them from bowl trips.

AFM: Have you had any interesting or unusual visitors in your office?
Coach Stoops: a number of members of the military – Army Generals and Colonels have come by the office... many former coaches including Coach Switzer visit... and James Garner, the actor, is a big OU fan and I’ve visited with him.

AFM: If you could be a GA under any coach, who would it be?
Coach Stoops: I wouldn’t have it any other way... Coach Fry was a tremendous teacher. I also learned a great deal from Bill Snyder while I was at K-State in addition to Steve Spurrier.

AFM: Have coaches that have influenced your career over the years visited you in your office?
Coach Stoops: Some have, but I speak often to Steve Spurrier whom I coached for at Florida (Assistant head Coach and Defensive Coordinator, 1996-98). I consider him a close personal friend.

AFM: What are some of the personal memorabilia in your office?
Coach Stoops: There are a number of team photos mixed in with some personal items. The office also has some community service plaques and military items that were given to me. It’s a mix of personal and professional items.

AFM: If you could only invite three coaches into your office – living or dead – for a coaching discussion or clinic, who would they be?
Coach Stoops: John Wooden, Hayden Fry, and Steve Spurrier. I've spoken with Coach Wooden and admire and respect him and his philosophy of life. I learned a lot from Coach Spurrier and I played for and was a GA at Iowa under Coach Fry.

AFM: What thoughts or advice would you give to the person who will eventually replace you?
Coach Stoops: I think you have to be yourself first of all... I also believe the next coach should embrace the players, coaches and tradition of OU football.


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