Originally created 01/05/02

Spurrier resignation fuels speculation about Stoops



OKLAHOMA CITY -- Steve Spurrier's announcement Friday that he was resigning as Florida's football coach fueled speculation about the future of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, a former assistant under Spurrier.

Sports information director Kenny Mossman said he fielded about 30 phone calls from media around the country after news broke about Spurrier. Stoops' future also was the hot topic on radio talk shows.

Stoops did not immediately return phone messages left by The Associated Press at his office. But his brother, co-defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, said the decision would be a difficult one for Bob if the job is offered.

"It's hard for me to speculate," Mike Stoops said. "He has a great relationship with Steve, had a great time at Florida. On the other hand, he's built a legacy here at Oklahoma already as a head coach. To do what he's done at Oklahoma in such a short period of time is pretty special.

"I don't know what he's thinking. It's up to Bob and his family. Only Bob can tell you how he feels and why he feels that way."

Bob Stoops was hired at Oklahoma in December 1998 after spending three years as Florida's defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. His retooling of the Gators' defense played a significant role in Florida winning the 1996 national championship.

Stoops is 31-7 in three years at Oklahoma and led the Sooners to the 2000 national title. And he has been rewarded for his work - his salary was bumped last summer to $2 million annually, second among college coaches only to Spurrier's $2.1 million. Stoops' contract runs through 2007.

Stoops has been mentioned as a possible candidate for other jobs since arriving at Oklahoma, but always said he was happy in Norman.

"Regardless of what you hear, I plan on being at Oklahoma for a long time," he said in January 2001 amid reports he might leave to become coach of the NFL's Cleveland Browns. "I'm fortunate to be the head football coach here," he said then.

Athletic director Joe Castiglione did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment about Friday's developments.



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