I’ve been impressed with Lincoln Riley. He seems to have it all together. It’s obviously a risk to take an assistant coach with no head coaching experience, but it worked out for OU when Bob Stoops was hired. I think he’ll be successful there, but can he win as much as Stoops? That will be hard to replicate, but that will be the expectation.
Oklahoma has a long history of moving assistants up: Switzer for Fairbanks, Gibbs for Switzer, Blake for Schnellenberger, Stoops for Blake and now Riley for Stoops. Gibbs and Blake weren’t well received, but Switzer and Stoops were.
Oklahoma also hired Jim McKenzie away from Arkansas after the 1965 season. McKenzie died of a heart attack after his first season at OU, but he hired Barry Switzer there and planted the seeds for Switzer’s eventual run as head coach.
McKenzie wasn’t there long, but he had two lasting impacts: He hired Switzer, as noted, and he changed the Paperclips’ uniforms to look very much like what he had left at Arkansas. Those unis still look like that 50 years later.
A friend of mine who is a major OU fan works for someone who is privy to inside info when it comes to the Sooners. That guy thinks the move was somewhat in part to ensure Lincoln Riley wasn’t hired away. Apparently, OU is incredibly high on him.
Now, I don’t know how much I buy into that. OU fans would be thrilled if Riley has a run even remotely close to what Stoops put together. Wouldn’t be surprising if he doesn’t.
Stoops is a legend and I suspect the decision was centered on wanting to enjoy life like he said. Just thought it was interesting to hear how sold on Riley OU people are.
Burn? Bob Stoops has won more than any Arkansas coach has in the last 18 years, maybe with the exception of a brief run by Petrino. Bob Stoops is a very good college football coach. His football program has been far superior to Arkansas’s in the last 18 years. I don’t think Clay was trying to rub it in. And I hope you weren’t either. Again, Stoops’s teams have surpassed anything Arkansas has done in the last 18 years. Yes, even beat Alabama. With Nick Saban at the helm. Yeah, que the “well they didn’t play in the SEC” stuff. That’s lame. Play and beat your competition. That’s what Stoops did. I’m really tired of the excuses.
I don’t think the Mixon thing was a deciding factor. Bob Stoops had weathered that. But, it likely did provide some stress and made him wonder if he’d be better off moving on while he still had his health. I had been told by Oklahoma insiders that he always said he wouldn’t stay forever. Now what does forever mean? Not sure.
As for my earlier comments, OU fans are up and down on Stoops. His nickname of Big Game Bob was earned in his first few seasons. Of late, he had trouble with that big game reputation because the Sooners lost a bunch of big games. I have many friends who are OU fans. I still keep up with many of them after building close relationships living in Tulsa for 14 years. So when I write something about OU, I have knowledge of how many of the Sooner fans think. Expectations at OU are always way up there. That will never change.
For 14 years, I covered almost every big game that OU played, including all of the Orange Bowls in that period. Stoops was compared with Switzer every step of the way. He held his own in my opinion, but there are OU fans that don’t agree with that.
One of the things that chaps me royally is when one of our (usually, younger) fans chimes in to one of the uniform threads (which are as inevitable in the off season as the sun coming up is each day) and says we need to change up our uniforms because our “classic look” is a “copy” of the OU look. It amazes and disappoints me that our “fans” don’t know enough about their own program to know that it is the other way around, as per your comment.
OU had white helmets with a red stripe down the middle before McKenzie took over.