Family reunion: Competition, trust fuel relationship for OU's Bob and Mike Stoops
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Sunday, August 19, 2012
8/19/12 at 6:56 AM
2012 College Football
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NORMAN - Tress Way gave a behind-the-scenes look at the relationship between siblings Bob and Mike Stoops.
"It's really cool because there's a lot of trust there with Coach (Bob) Stoops and Coach Mike Stoops," Way said. "You really see them arguing as brothers on the field. It's cool because coach Bob Stoops is the older one and the head coach, so he gets the final say. It's funny to watch coach Mike Stoops walking away from that and take it."
Well, "take it" may be a bit strong. But these two coaches are hardcore, which may not be a bad thing for Oklahoma's future.
"They are very, very competitive. Competitive to being on the edge," OU running backs coach Cale Gundy said. "It's neat to see those guys. What you see in Mike is what you see in Bob. It's the same thing."
Oklahoma fans began salivating when Mike Stoops returned to the coaching staff earlier this year. The 51-year-old is a bridge to championships and dominating defenses past.
The Sooners won a national championship and two Big 12 titles with Mike Stoops on the sidelines while boasting one of the nation's top 10 defenses in his final four seasons. By comparison, the Sooners haven't been ranked among the top 50 defensive units in three of the past four years.
An eight-year stint as Arizona's head coach came to an unceremonious end for Mike Stoops, who was fired at mid-season in 2011.
During the good times and tough times, Mike Stoops said he kept in contact with his older brother.
"What you are doing and, in a lot of different situations, I think you talk a lot about some of the hardships that you go through in these positions," Mike Stoops said. "We could relate to each other in a lot of different ways. We're brothers and we ... had a lot that we could relate to."
The reunion has been smooth. Both brothers remain comfortable with each other.
"I'm excited to have Mike back for a number of reasons, not only personally, but professionally," Bob Stoops said. "When we've worked together, it's been pretty positive, when you look at our years either competing at Iowa together as players but also the years at Kansas State coaching defense together, his first, whatever, five, six years with us at Oklahoma up to 2003. We did pretty well overall."
Mike Stoops is trying to build a new defensive swagger at Oklahoma.
"But I do believe in the last couple of years, for whatever reason - and we've really looked at it - that our defense hasn't been quite as strong as what we've been used to in our first 10, 12 years," Bob Stoops said. "So hopefully we can make fewer mental mistakes in some areas and be a little sharper in what we're doing to play more consistently and better defense."
"So that's what Mike will be working hard on. And I've got, obviously, a lot of faith in him."
Mike Stoops doesn't want to let his brother down.
"We're brothers, but I still work for him and he's the boss," Mike Stoops said. "There's an interesting dynamic that goes along with family. But there's a lot of pressure. We take things and you tend to take things personally because it is ... it affects both of us.
"You want to do well."
Original Print Headline: Family reunion
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The Stoops siblings are pictured with their mother, Dee (center) on a family vacation. From left, Mike, Bob, Renee, Dee, Kathy, Mark and Ronnie. Stoops family/Oklahoman
OU players Brandon Pryor and Gayron Allen (48) dump water on Bob Stoops, left, and his Mike Stoops in the closing minutes of Oklahoma's 14-3 win over Texas in 2001. DONNA MCWILLIAM/AP file