Stoops: Rumors 'ridiculous'
BY JOHN E. HOOVER World Sports Writer
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
11/17/09 at 6:44 AM
NORMAN — Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops seemed a bit incredulous that his name had come up as a candidate for the not-yet-vacant position at Notre Dame.
"That's ridiculous," Stoops said Monday night following the Sooners' practice.
A published report in the Chicago Sun-Times on Sunday cited a source who said "Stoops has told confidants he would be interested in talking to the Irish." The report also listed Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz as being "in the mix" to replace Weis. Stoops and Ferentz are among more than a dozen major college coaches who are represented by Cleveland-based agent Neil Cornrich. Ferentz was offensive line coach at Iowa while Stoops was an Iowa defensive back.
Stoops, though, was having none of it.
"Some confidant, huh?" Stoops said. "I have no idea what you're talking about. Notre Dame doesn't have a job (open). And I haven't spoken to any confidants about anything, outside of trying to beat Texas Tech."
Speculation has raged for weeks over Notre Dame firing current coach Charlie Weis at the end of the season, and it picked up steam again this week after the Fighting Irish lost to Pittsburgh. Some close to the program have suggested Weis' fate already has been decided. Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick has told reporters he would evaluate Weis, as he always does, after the end of the season, and also was quoted as saying Weis' reported $18 million buyout was "not a factor."
Some may think Stoops' candidacy in South Bend, Ind., makes sense this year because he's going through his most challenging season as a head coach and, for the first time, has received sustained criticism from the OU fan base. The Sooners are 6-4 and unranked for the first time in four years, and Stoops' teams have lost five consecutive Bowl Championship Series contests, including three BCS title games in a row.
Last summer, Stoops received a raise and contract extension that will pay him $30.125 million through the 2015 season.
Stoops wasn't asked if he would be interested in listening to an offer from Notre Dame if the position does come open (Stoops never publicly entertains such speculation), and he didn't say that he would rebuff any offers.
Still, Stoops bristled at the notion that, with two weeks left in the regular season, he was being linked to another job.
"That's some guy making something up," Stoops said. "I'm not answering stuff like that. There's not even a job (open) at Notre Dame. That's ridiculous."
Eventually, Stoops' mood lightened up.
"You guys believe a 'confidant?' What's that? That's a pretty good buddy, wasn't it?" he said. "Maybe he felt things were going (bad enough at OU) that I needed that, huh? Buddy of mine trying to help me out, huh?
"People just make stuff up."
John E. Hoover 581-8384
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, left, shakes hands with Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman, right, before the start of an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009. AP PHOTO