If one report is to be believed, a Stoops could indeed be set to take over in Tallahassee, just not the one who’s been bandied about of late.
In the hours after Willie Taggart was ousted as the head coach at Florida State, speculation surfaced that Mark Stoops, a former defensive coordinator for the Seminoles (2010-12), could leave Kentucky to take the same job at FSU. Monday night, however, a report from NoleGameday.com had the athletic department identifying Mark Stoops’ older brother, Bob Stoops, “as the top target in the coaching search.”
Another report late Monday night went a step further, claiming “that a deal is really close to being done” and that the 59-year-old Stoops would keep Taggart’s two coordinators, grooming one of them as the head coach-in-waiting. From WTXL-TV:
Bob Stoops could become the next head coach of Florida State football in the near future, according to sources. We’ve heard the announcement could come as early as the end of this week or early next week…
Along with Stoops taking over as head coach, sources said that Kendal Briles will remain on staff as offensive coordinator, while Jim Leavitt would be retained as defensive coordinator. The source went on to say that with keeping Briles on staff as offensive coordinator, it could turn into a head coach in waiting role. Stoops is 59, would want to groom a successor before he retires.
A source with knowledge of the situation wouldn’t directly address the reports, but did say the “brakes need to be tapped on the speculation.” The Athletic‘s Bruce Feldman added further context to the overnight developments.
In June of 2017, Stoops stunned the college football world by stepping down as the head coach at Oklahoma at the age of 56.
In his 18 seasons with that program, he guided the Sooners to a 190-48 record. After a 7-5 first season, OU won 10-plus games in 14 of the next 17 seasons. The Sooners won 11 games six times — including what turned out to be the last two seasons of Stoops’ tenure — 12 games five times and 13 games once.
Stoops won 10 Big 12 championships, including nine outright, during his time in Norman. His 2000 squad won the lone national title of his tenure, going unbeaten in 13 games and capping the championship season with a 13-2 win over Florida State in the Orange Bowl. That was the Sooners’ first since 1985.
Earlier this year, Stoops, whose name has been connected to Auburn (HERE) and Ohio State (HERE) since his retirement, was named as the head coach and general manager of the Dallas XFL franchise.