The college football world was sent into a frenzy this weekend after Oklahoma made things official and dismissed defensive coordinator Mike Stoops.
The news was not unexpected given the Sooners loss to Texas and their general performance the past few years on that side of the ball but at least one coach who has been there before has a little advice for Stoops: it actually can be a good thing.
“Thank God it happened!” Heupel told the Orlando Sentinel. “It’s worked out great for me. If I had stayed there, I wouldn’t be here.”
Of course, Heupel was not able to stay at his alma mater as he was pushed out as offensive coordinator back in January of 2015. The man who replaced him was none other than Lincoln Riley, who eventually became head coach at OU in taking over for Bob Stoops.
Heupel spent a season at Utah State and two more at Missouri before eventually becoming the surprising choice to replace Scott Frost at UCF. Things have certainly worked out well for him following his departure from Norman, not just in becoming a head coach for the first time but also leading the Knights to a 5-0 start to the 2018 season.
It will be interesting to see if Mike Stoops, who actually hired Heupel as an assistant when he took the head job at Arizona, follows a similar road going forward. While he’s 16 years older than his peer in the coaching profession, dropping down to a lower level than the Big 12 to rediscover his touch for designing defenses isn’t out of the question.
Either way, it’s a good reminder that even if you’re axed from one of your dream jobs in college football, the sport still offers the path to get back to winning ways eventually.