There is an expectation at the University of Oklahoma that most programs aren’t privy to around the country. 2011 was no different, in fact, the expectations may have hit a peak. The Sooners expect to win Big XII titles, expect to be in BCS bowls, expect to contend for national championships. This year, they expected to win the national championship. Subtle difference, but much more at stake. Instead, the Sooners finished third in the conference and are headed to a familiar destination–Arizona–but for a bowl they didn’t intend.
Any time a season with such promise is met with high levels of disappointment there is going to be fallout. Generally, that falls in line proportionate with how poorly the season went. In the past few weeks this program is feeling some of that. Players have already transferred, more are contemplating it, people are calling for wholesale coaching changes, and there are the select few wanting the university to find someone other than Bob Stoops to lead this football team.
Firing Stoops would be the most foolish decision OU could ever make.
Yes, you can question his ability to finish the job. Since winning it all in 2000, his teams have consistently been some of the best in the land, but have nothing but a string of BCS flops to show for it. They have racked up a record number of Big XII titles, but been embarrassed on the national stage. There have been a myriad of different off-field issues, players leaving, and the occasional NCAA investigation. You could make a case for complacency and whether it could be time for a little change.
But you cannot question his leadership.
Leadership is his greatest trait, you know. Schemes, motivation, organization, public relations. Lots of things are demanded of a head coach. He’s good at most of them. But leadership is where he shines.
Knows what he believes in, knows whom he believes in, and doesn’t deter. That’s not inflexibility. That’s commitment.
I suggest reading Berry Tramel’s entire article on Stoops’ greatest trait.
Things don’t always go the way you plan. You set goals each year, and sometimes you reach them, but often times you fall short. It is easy to get upset and sell the farm, so to speak. It is hard to saddle up, accept your failures, and do something about correcting them. In today’s society, everybody wants instant results, instant satisfaction. The reality is, however, that rarely comes to fruition. Winning championships takes commitment, time, and most importantly, leadership.
Sooners fans that are quick to throw Stoops under the bus should remember where the program was before he took over. There should be an appreciation of the fact that the expectations are so high–that is a credit to the job he has done. Winning games has and always will be the norm as long as Stoops is the coach. You could make a case that winning will almost always be the norm regardless of who is leading the Sooners. But when times get hard is when you need somebody that knows more than cover two schemes and the ins and outs of a hurry-up offense. You need somebody that will lead. You need somebody that will step up, be accountable for his actions, and get his players to follow that direction.
At Oklahoma, they have one of the very best in the country at doing so. And there isn’t a better candidate to continue leading the program than Bob Stoops.