Bob Stoops, one of the longest-tenured and most successful coaches in college football, has announced his retirement from the position as head coach of the Oklahoma University team. He coached the team for 18 seasons, and will cede control to offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, who was hired two seasons ago. Stoops will reportedly stay with the university in some capacity. In a later statement, Stoops clarified that health had nothing to do with his decision to retire. “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. We have new state-of-the-art facilities and a great start on next year’s recruiting class. The time is now because Lincoln Riley will provide a seamless transition as the new head coach, capitalizing on an excellent staff that is already in place and providing familiarity and confidence for our players. Now is simply the ideal time for me and our program to make this transition,” Stoops wrote.
Stoops coached Oklahoma to one national championship in 2000, and helped the team to reach three other championship games. Under Stoops’ leadership, Oklahoma won nine Big 12 titles, plus a shared title. This would’ve been surprising when considering Oklahoma had undergone five consecutive non-winning seasons before his hiring in December 1998. He leaves with a 190-48 record, which makes him the winningest coach in Oklahoma history. He also leaves with a winning record in Oklahoma’s biggest rivalries, against the University of Texas and Oklahoma State University. One of his more recent accomplishments was a 2014 upset of the University of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Stoops was also famous for taking shots at the Southeastern Conference whenever he could, despite his previous position as defensive coordinator at the University of Florida.