By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Item: Reports that the Cleveland Browns will interview Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops for their vacant head coaching job are false, Cleveland.com has reported.
Oklahoma fans can breathe a sigh of relief to that.
A second thought is why Stoops, OU’s all-time winningest coach with 160 victories, would want to even consider going to one of the NFL’s worst jobs.
The original Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore after the 1995 season. The NFL put an expansion franchise there in 1999, the year Stoops started at OU.
The Browns have had seven head coaches over that time — Chris Palmer (1999-2000), Butch Davis (2001-04), Terry Robiskie (2004, interim), Romeo Crennel (2005-08), Eric Mangini (2009-10), Pat Shurmur (2011-12) and Rob Chudzinski (2013).
Tom Reed, of the Northeast Ohio Media Group, after compiling figures from various media groups, reports the franchise has been scheduled to pay six fired head coaches $49 million not to show up for work.
Stoops has turned down the Browns once before — why would he want to leave one of the most secure positions in college football where he has had the same president and same athletic director for 15 years for that?
One has to think Stoops was playing around with the media when he said “you never know’’ when asked Friday if he was interested in coaching the Browns.
Cleveland has been considered a natural fit for Stoops if he wanted to turn pro because he’s a Youngstown, Ohio, native and his agent Neil Comrich is based in Cleveland.
OU has a history of successful coaches — the only school with four coaches with more than 100 wins — Stoops, Barry Switzer, Bud Wilkinson and Bennie Owen.
Cleveland hasn’t won a championship since 1964 and has fired legendary coaches Paul Brown (whom the team was named for), Marty Schottenheimer and Bill Belichick.
Unless Stoops wants another challenge, one would question why he would want to consider leaving OU now.
He might be at the height of his popularity after guiding the Sooners to back-to-back upsets of Oklahoma State and Alabama, both of which were double-digit favorites.
He returns the nucleus of a team which could be capable of a national championship run.
Quarterback Trevor Knight, after struggling early in the season, looked like the next OU star signal caller against Alabama.
Knight was supposedly the running quarterback, but threw for 348 yards in the 45-31 upset of Alabama. He has three more years of eligibility and there’s a long line behind him with Edmond Santa Fe’s Justus Hansen, the son of former Shattuck star Dusty and the grandson of ex-Shattuck and Buffalo coach Jarel, coming in this fall.
Cleveland has had major quarterback problems with three different starters in 2013.
Stoops is making approximately $5 million a year in Norman. Would the Browns try to top that? Even so, $5 million goes a lot further in Norman than in Cleveland.
He runs the show at OU top to bottom — something he couldn’t do in Cleveland, or any other NFL team. His buddy, Steve Spurrier, could tell him the difference between coaching an elite NFL team and a struggling NFL team (Washington Redskins), especially with an interfering owner (Dan Snyder).
There’s a good reason why Nick Saban left the Miami Dolphins after two seasons to return to college — Alabama was a better job.
Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.