Former Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops seemed more than content in retirement. However, a new opportunity has presented itself, and the man responsible for bringing OU’s football program back to national prominence is a head coach once again.
Yesterday, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported that Stoops was expected to be introduced as the head coach/GM of the XFL’s Dallas franchise. On Thursday afternoon, it all became official.
A move to the XFL is definitely odd in many ways, but it makes sense for a few reasons. This doesn’t come with anything close to the amount of stress, pressure or general year-round responsibility that accompanies being a head coach in college football. Also, if this XFL team doesn’t do well on the field, few people will lose any sleep over it and it won’t really impact his legacy. Above all, the league will play its games in the winter and spring months, meaning that he’ll still be able to watch his son, Drake, play at Oklahoma in the fall.
Many of you might remember the original XFL, which was the baby created WWE Chairman/CEO Vince McMahon and NBC executive Dick Ebersol. Of course, the league spectacularly flamed out after one season and later became the subject of an ESPN 30 for 30 film. Under the direction of McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment and league commissioner Oliver Luck, the new XFL will begin play in the winter of 2020. The Dallas franchise, which has not yet been given a name, will play its games at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
Stoops took over as head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners following the firing of John Blake in 1998, and he was able to successfully revive a program that had been mired in mediocrity for roughly a decade. By his second season, he had led the program to its seventh national championship and went on to finish as the winningest coach in school history. In his 18 seasons as head coach, Stoops won 10 Big 12 titles, led the program to four BCS title game appearances and coached two Heisman trophy winners (or four if you include Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, who were on the roster during his final years). In June of 2017, Stoops suddenly retired and gave the throne to Lincoln Riley, which has proven to be arguably the smoothest and most successful coaching transition in memory.
Bob Stoops will forever be an icon in Norman, and we all hope he finds fulfillment in this new gig. I didn’t expect to care about anything that happened with the XFL (and I’m obviously not optimistic about this league’s success), but the Dallas franchise will have some fans in Oklahoma as long as he’s around.
Good luck, Bob!