Bob Stoops tenure at OU has always had a tie with one of his mentors, Bill Snyder at Kansas State. Every game week of OU/KState, you’re reminded about Bob Stoops history and connection with Bill Snyder. With Stoops retirement now, let’s rehash it again for one last time.
Stoops went to college at the University of Iowa in 1979 where he played defensive back for the Hawkeyes under head coach Hayden Fry. The offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach during Stoops playing days at Iowa was Bill Snyder. Stoops graduated in 1983 and joined the Iowa coaching staff as a graduate assistant/assistant coach for four seasons. Bill Snyder moved on to become the new head coach for Kansas State in 1989 where he hired Bob Stoops as defensive backs coach and received promotions to co-defensive coordinator in 1991 and assistant coach in 1995. In 1996, Stoops moved on to become defensive coordinator for Steve Spurrier and the Florida Gators where he helped the Gators win the 1997 national championship. The Stoops/Snyder history would come full circle as Stoops moved back to the Big 12 to become the head coach for the University of Oklahoma in 1999. Stoops and Snyder would then become friendly foes through the years in the Big 12.
One thing we know, Stoops has always looked up to Bill Snyder with genuine respect as a mentor and friend. With this in mind, a question that has arisen out of the many with Stoops retirement – Was Bob Stoops’ relationship with Bill Snyder one of the factors into his decision to retire?
The former OU head coach said in his retirement statement, “I understand there has been some speculation about my health. My health was not the deciding factor in this decision and I’ve had no incidents that would prevent me from coaching. I feel the timing is perfect to hand over the reins. The program is in tremendous shape. We have outstanding players and coaches and are poised to make another run at a Big 12 and national championship.”
A good conclusion can be drawn that Stoops thought it was time to go while the program is on solid ground with an up and coming coach like Lincoln Riley to take over the helm. How would someone like Bill Snyder possibly factor into this? Stoops remembers when his mentor first retired in late 2005. Though Stoops and Snyder went into retirement in different trajectories of success, both knew what was best for the program at the time. Before Stoops retirement, the last two seasons have produced 11-2 seasons with a two Big 12 Championships, a Sugar Bowl win, and an appearance in the CFB playoff against Clemson in the Orange Bowl. Before Snyder’s retirement, KState went 4-7 and 5-6 with no bowl appearances. Stoops saw his mentor leave a program after declining seasons. Did Bob possibly remember Snyder and not want the program to decline under his watch before he left?
In a shocking surprise to many, Bill Snyder came out of retirement after three years to become the head coach again at Kansas State. Snyder went on to restore the program to success with seven bowl appearances, a Big 12 Championship, and two Big 12 Coach of the Year awards after the unsuccessful tenure from Ron Prince. Prince was the former offensive coordinator at the University of Virginia where he became a hot commodity for a head coaching position after his success with the Cavalier offense.
Lincoln Riley now takes the reins as the 22nd head coach in the history of OU football. We know Riley’s previous success as offensive coordinator with Ruffin McNeill at East Carolina University and now the last two seasons as offensive coordinator at OU. We don’t necessarily know whether Lincoln Riley will be a successful head coach after taking over for arguably one of the best coaches in OU football.
Would Bob Stoops possibly do the same thing as his mentor, Bill Snyder?
Let’s say Lincoln Riley came in and OU didn’t perform well for the next couple years. Bad losses, no Big 12 championships, and no appearances in CFP. Direction of the program not going the right way.
Would Bob have the itch? Would he want to come back to restore OU just like Snyder did to KState?
Only time will tell.