Bob Stoops As A National Coach Of The Year Nominee

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Stoops is navigating his team through uncharted waters during his fifteenth season as Oklahoma's head coach.

"It's not easy but you can't let it overwhelm you, because then I can't go back. And I need to go back." -Bob Stoops on his visits to Children's Hospital

Yes, the Sooners lost to Texas. Yes, there seems to be an offensive identity crisis in Norman. Yes, injuries on the defensive side of the ball have raised more than a few eyebrows in concern. However, that said, I believe that as Liberty Mutual opens their eighth season of voting for their Coach of the Year, Bob Stoops deserves your support.

Think about it from this perspective. Stoops is replacing the Big Twelve's all-time passing leader and has lost two of his top three defensive players during this 2013 season. He's charting a new course as he's never been in a position like this, as a head coach, and yet just past the midpoint of the season he's sporting a 6-1 record and has a #15 national ranking.

Do OU fans want more? Yes, we always want more but we also must understand that things could have been worse. While Art Briles and Kliff Kingsbury are hot names in 2013 because of what they're building at their respective programs, the constant measure of success in the Big XII has been Bob Stoops.

There's been no one better on the sidelines of the Big Twelve over the last fifteen season than Bob Stoops but that's not all that defines him as a person. Just about every Thursday morning you can find him on the tenth floor of the Children's Hospital chatting it up with kids about school, family life, and even football.

"I feel it's necessary," Stoops said in a 2011 interview with The Oklahoman about his trips to the hospital. "It lets 'em know they're important. If I'm able to give a little peace and give a little joy ... I've been lucky to have a lot of great relationships with my time up there."

You won't find him there for a photo shoot or a publicity stunt either. In fact, there are very few photos available of Stoops making his rounds unless its been posted by a family member of one of the children. Stoops is there to build relationships and has unfortunately received too many calls from grieving parents informing him that one of his friends has lost their battle with cancer.

Then there was the time when Stoops showed up to help clean up after a tornado ravaged Oklahoma City in late May. He blended in so well that it took a half an hour for anyone to recognize him. According to Kenny Mossman (Oklahoma's SID), no one in the athletic department even knew he was going.

Through fifteen seasons Bob Stoops has remained as one of the best college football coaches in America and is proving it again this season. However, perhaps his greatest feat comes from what he's been able to accomplish off the field despite being one of the most recognizable people in the state of Oklahoma.

A successful coach builds character in the young people that are placed in their charge, and its equally as important to what they're teaching them to do on the field. Stoops has more than proven his merit in both of those categories and therefore deserves your vote.

Fan voting on December 3, the top 15 coaches with the most fan votes in each of the four college football divisions - FBS, FCS, Division II, and Division III - advance to an evaluation process to determine the finalists.

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