There’s little question that the biggest story of the offseason was the fact that Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops made the shocking decision to retire from coaching the Sooners and move on to the next phase in his life. While there were a few grumblings that a similar move could happen at some point in the near future, just about everybody was surprised at the timing of the announcement this summer.
That includes Bob’s own brother Mark Stoops. The Kentucky head coach was up at SEC Media Days on Wednesday and remarked that even he didn’t see the departure from Norman coming last month either.
“I had really no idea it was coming, but he called me and told me what was going to happen in the very near future,” the younger Stoops said. “And it was a bit of a shock to me to be honest with you. I had to walk out of my office and walk around the practice field. And that’s where I had that conversation with him away from everybody. So I was shocked. Mixed emotions, I guess you would say from myself. Very proud of him, what he’s done, and very happy for him and Carol and his family, to be able to step away when he wants, how he wants. And that’s Bob.
“I think it was very important for him to walk away with a good football team with a chance to win his league and get in the playoffs and hand off a program that he took so much pride in building. So I have mixed emotions about it still, but proud of him and hope the very best for him.”
With Bob off the sidelines for the first time in decades, Mark is now the only active head coach among the four Stoops brothers who have made their living coaching football. The Wildcats’ coach didn’t say anything about Bob heading to Lexington to catch a game this season while at the podium in Hoover this week but safe to say the newly retired Stoops finally has a chance to watch Mark lead his program up close for the first time ever.
Either way, the remarks from Mark Stoops only confirmed that the shocking news out of Oklahoma in June received the same reaction everywhere — including the Stoops family itself.