Wesley Hitt

OU Football 2013 | Sooners Coaching Carousel In Full Swing For First Time In Bob Stoops Era

For the first time ever during the Bob Stoops era as the head coach of Oklahoma Football, the Sooners are looking to replace multiple coaches in the same year. After never having fired a coach in 13 years on the job, Stoops has now fired four in twelve and a half months. The news is coming in almost by the hour, so be sure to keep checking back in here for all the latest as soon as it happens.

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Mark Mangino Out Of The Picture

Multiple reports out Friday morning that Mark Mangino will become the new tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator at his alma mater, Youngstown State.

And with that, it would appear whatever slim (insert joke here) chance there may have been of Mangino returning to the Oklahoma staff has now been eliminated.

Many OU fans, myself included, were never a fan of the idea that Mangino could be coming back to Norman. While I cannot speak for anyone else, it was never a personal matter as much as it just didn't seem to make sense from Oklahoma's perspective. So it's good see the guy get a second chance somewhere and hopefully it will work out for everyone involved.


Jackie Shipp Joins Arizona State Staff

Just wanted to throw up a quick update in case some of you hadn't already seen it. Jackie Shipp was officially introduced Tuesday as the newest member of Todd Graham's Arizona State coaching staff. Shipp will coach the defensive line.

In a move that was probably good for all parties, it's nice to see Shipp find a comfortable landing spot after leaving a staff he'd been a member of for 13 years.

We wish him nothing but success at ASU.


New Name Emerges For Final Coaching Vacancy

As the recent coaching hires begin to fall into place and spring football quickly approaches, Oklahoma still has one more coaching vacancy left to fill. There has been some debate as to whether or not Bob Stoops would go back to the " good ol' buddy" well and bring in a guy like Mark Mangino or Chuck Long to likely handle tight ends and fullbacks.

However, there has also been considerable talk that this hire could have more of a special teams influence. It's unlikely, given Stoops' reputation, that it would be a fully dedicated special teams coach but more someone with that kind of a background who could also handle another position/s as well.

It is also no secret that Oklahoma is looking to get younger as a staff and seeking someone who has a reputation as a dynamic recruiter, preferably with ties to the southeast.

And with all of that in mind, a new name has emerged recently. That name is Derek Lewis (coaching bio), a current member of the Florida Gators coaching staff. (In an effort to give proper credit where it is due, I'm almost positive James Hale was the first one to publicly bring Lewis' name into the mix.)

Lewis seems to fit all the criteria of what Oklahoma would be looking for in a coach and his Rivals recruiting profile (2 five star and 6 four star players in the last two years) speaks for itself. He has obvious ties to the South during his time at Florida, but also is a New Orleans native with strong ties to the state of Louisiana (somewhere OU has recruited in the past) as well. In another little interesting turn of events, Lewis just so happens to be a former University of Texas football player and was involved in one of the more memorable Big 12 Championship Game plays (a 61-yard reception) that helped the Longhorns win their first Big 12 title.

Also in Oklahoma's favor, somewhat similar to the Jerry Montgomery situation, is that Lewis was the lowest paid assistant on Florida's staff last year. So could a bump in pay and/or responsibilities be enough to convince him to make the move to Norman?


Report: Jerry Montgomery Accepts OU Offer

At least one report has surfaced Saturday afternoon that Michigan assistant, Jerry Montgomery, has accepted Okahoma's offer to become their new defensive line coach. Michigan's Scout.com site is reporting that an announcement could come as early as Monday. According to that same report, "Michigan offered a competitive compensation package to Montgomery, but ultimately he felt the opportunity at Oklahoma was clearly one he couldn't pass up."

Adding to the speculation this initial report could be accurate is a tweet that one Michigan player, 2013 five star recruit Ondre Pipkins (anybody else cool with Montgomery bringing a five star defensive tackle or two to Norman?), sent out Saturday as well.

While we are still waiting for those on the Oklahoma side of things to confirm, it would appear as though it's more a matter of when rather than if at this point. Bare in mind, this is just one report and while we're not calling it into question nothing is ever truly official until it can be confirmed by multiple sources and/or it comes from OU.


Have The Sooners Found Their Man For D-Line Job?

While things are certainly not official at this point, it would appear as though Oklahoma has found their primary target to fill their vacant defensive line coaching position.

Multiple reports out Saturday afternoon have speculated that Michigan's Jerry Montgomery is that candidate and that things may have progressed to the point where the ball is currently in his court. Meaning, Oklahoma could have offered him the position and he is simply mulling over whether or not to accept.

As we told you in our last update, Montgomery made a little over $200,000 last year and it's safe to assume if Oklahoma has offered him the job that number would increase significantly. From what we understand, from a strictly monetary standpoint Michigan could very likely match whatever OU would offer but has a fairly strict policy with which they structure their assistants' salaries. Now of course an exception could be made if they chose to do so, but if they did that to keep Montgomery would it affect their other assistants as well? Seems like a fair question to ask and one that could help Oklahoma's chances of landing the talented Wolverine assistant.

If Oklahoma has offered and if Montgomery were to accept, things would very likely progress quickly with an announcement coming as early as Monday (if not sooner). Again, to be perfectly clear, we're not at that point yet but things could be trending in that direction. It would appear at the moment as though the decision is Montgomery's to make, so it's certainly still possible he says no and chooses to stay in Ann Arbor.

As always, as soon as we know anything we'll be sure to bring it to you. So make sure to keep checking CCM and our 2013 Coaching Carousel Story Stream.


A Couple New Names Emerge As Possible Candidates

Before we even get started, I feel obligated to remind you of something. Many of you are already aware, but for those of you who may be new to these parts we at CCM traditionally do not partake in the rumor mill. We try to avoid it both to provide you with accurate information (even if that means we aren't the first to have it) and of course to maintain our credibility with those who have found us and also those who will in the future.

That said, when you're in a situation such as the one OU Football is currently in it's virtually impossible to follow the above policy. Information can change by the hour, if not sooner, which obviously makes things very difficult to report on, at least accurately.

Currently, there is a ton of speculation being done with respect to not just who Bob Stoops could hire for the two vacant positions on his coaching staff but also as to who he may even be considering. If you know anything about Stoops, you know he wasn't happy about the Bill Bedenbaugh hire leaking out as quickly as it did. So based on the lack of even the tiniest shred of information emanating from the Switzer Center, it would appear things are on complete and utter lockdown.

Be that is it may, a couple new names have potentially (and I cannot possibly stress enough the word, potentially) emerged as possible candidates. Again, just to be clear, at this point everyone who is covering this coaching search is simply trying to do their best to connect the dots on candidates who would make sense. So long as you understand that, we can continue.

Before we get to the new names, a quick update on the previous list of possible candidates we gave you last week.

  • Mike Tuiasosopo - Does not appear to be a viable candidate
  • Calvin Thibodeaux - While a fan favorite, all reports have indicated there has been no contact between the former Sooner and OU.
  • Jim Jeffcoat - Nothing to indicate he has or will be contacted at this point.
  • Bryant Young - This one was unlikely to begin with, nothing on OU's part seems to indicate they're interested.
  • Joe Salave'a - Of our original list, this one still makes the most sense but as far as anyone knows OU has not contacted him (yet).

Okay, now for the new guys.

Jerry Montgomery (Coaching Bio) - Montgomery is currently a member of Michigan's staff and whose name has really started to pick up some momentum at least from those covering the search. He fits a lot of the criteria that Oklahoma would likely be looking for in a defensive line/tackles coach: he's young (just 31 years old), has a good amount of experience for someone that young, he's African-American (not meant at all to be a race thing, but it's a reality that OU needs more diversity on this staff), and he is regarded as an outstanding recruiter. Michigan just closed with one of the top 2013 classes in the country and if I'm not mistaken, he was the primary recruiter for five star running back Derrick Green.

It's unclear at this point if Stoops has reached out to him and/or how open he'd be to leaving Ann Arbor if Oklahoma were to offer. He was only making a little over $200,000 last year, so you would think Oklahoma could easily beat that assuming they believed he was their guy.

Jamie Christian (Coaching Bio) - A current member of the Houston staff, Christian is another young but highly regarded assistant coach who seems to very much fit the profile of what Oklahoma would be looking for in a candidate. He would fill the Sooners tight end/fullback/special teams vacant position.

Oklahoma fans who have been clamoring for a dedicated special teams coach should love the guy as he's widely regarded as one of the top special teams coaches in the country. By all accounts, he's also considered to be a dynamic recruiter and someone who those around the coaching community rave about.

Much like Montgomery, playing in OU's favor would be the $160,000 Christian made last year though I've seen from Carey Murdock that number could be higher than what is out there officially.

In my opinion, both of these would be absolutely outstanding hires. If I had to guess right now based on what I've heard/read, Montgomery is the more likely of the two. He is someone a number of people who cover the team, with much better sources than any of us hear, believe Oklahoma could be strongly considering. It likely wouldn't be easy to pry him away from Michigan, Oklahoma would definitely have to pony up the cash, but he seems like a candidate that would be well worth it.

On the other hand, Christian is a guy many of us believe OU should be looking at but may not have done so as of yet.

As always, as soon as we know something will bring it to you so keep checking back here in our Coaching Carousel Story Stream for any updates.


KREF 1400 Interview With Bill Bedenbaugh

Former Sooners Dusty Dvoracek and Teddy Lehman, co-hosts of The Rush on the Sports Talk Network, interviewed Oklahoma's new offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh Tuesday afternoon.


Time To Loosen Up The Purse Strings

Oklahoma has been able to get away with not paying their football assistants top dollar, but that may be changing as they look to replace three recently departed coaches.


Stoops Confirms Shipp/Kittle Firings

Up until this point, we had been relying on the reports that both Jackie Shipp and Bruce Kittle has been let go but now we have confirmation from Bob Stoops and the University of Oklahoma.

Here is the full statement released courtesy of SoonerSports.com:

University of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops confirmed Wednesday that assistant coaches Jackie Shipp and Bruce Kittle will pursue other opportunities and will not return to OU coaching staff for the 2013 season.

"Bruce and Jackie both are great professionals who made a positive impact on Oklahoma Football," Stoops said. "Jackie played an integral role on our staff for 14 seasons as we won a national championship, made three other national championship game appearances and won eight Big 12 championships.

"Bruce made substantial contributions to a pair of Big 12 championships during his tenure with us," Stoops continued. "He also played an instrumental role in the development of players like Donald Stephenson and Lane Johnson. I wish Jackie and Bruce the very best moving forward."

Stoops indicated that no decisions have been made relative to filling positions on his staff.

"I anticipate speaking with several candidates that I have identified for our coaching staff, but I have yet to interview any of those individuals," he said. "I will continue to evaluate all of our options. Our objectives haven't changed. We will continue to do everything possible to ensure Oklahoma Football and our student-athletes are given the resources and support they need to compete for championships and excel in the classroom."

Both Shipp and Kittle expressed their appreciation of their time at OU. Shipp coached the defensive line for the Sooners the past 14 seasons and enjoyed a four-year playing career with Oklahoma from 1980-83. Kittle originally joined Oklahoma as the team's on-campus recruiting coordinator in 2010 and coached the club's offensive tackles and tight ends the past two years.

"It has been a privilege to coach the last 14 seasons at my alma mater, an honor that few coaches in this business are afforded," said Shipp. "It was a pleasure to compete with my teammates on Owen Field, and later, to work with a staff that helped so many talented student-athletes achieve their goals. I am particularly grateful for the many enduring relationships that were forged at the University of Oklahoma over the years."

"It's been a great blessing to work with Coach Stoops, our student-athletes and the entire staff at the University of Oklahoma," added Kittle. "Our family wishes the Sooners the very best, and we'll always have a fond place in our heart for the many individuals who touched us during our stay in Norman."


Bob Stoops Addresses Cronyism Tag

Wanted to bring this John Hoover blog post to your attention as I thought it was a quality take from the sometimes criticized local reporter from the Tulsa World.

Hoover has taken some heat this past year for his approach to challenging Bob Stoops in print and during press conferences, which is obviously something not done previously on a consistent basis. While I think his methods, at times, have warranted the criticism it does not change the fact he can hit the nail on the head with some of his critiques.

I believe this blog post does exactly that and reinforces a number of things we as fans had often voiced displeasure with during Bruce Kittle's two years on the OU staff. Obviously Stoops would never admit to this nor do I believe this (cronyism) was the sole reason (or even a reason at all in Stoops' mind) for Kittle's firing, but even if it was addressed indirectly, it has been addressed. And that was a step in the right direction.

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