Stoops bids coaches farewell
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Thursday, February 14, 2013
2/14/13 at 6:53 AM
NORMAN - Bob Stoops hasn't bid farewell often to assistant coaches following Oklahoma's previous 14 football seasons.
On Wednesday, he thanked two more assistant coaches - Jackie Shipp and Bruce Kittle - for their duty while announcing the pair would pursue other opportunities.
OU is in restructure mode as Stoops confirmed the second and third departing coaches from the staff. On Monday, Oklahoma announced that offensive line coach James Patton had accepted a position at Indiana.
"Bruce and Jackie both are great professionals who made a positive impact on Oklahoma football," Stoops said in a statement.
Stoops said no official timetable has been set for the three openings and he hadn't interviewed possible successors.
"I anticipate speaking with several candidates that I have identified for our coaching staff, but I have yet to interview any of those individuals," he said. "I will continue to evaluate all of our options. Our objectives haven't changed. We will continue to do everything possible to ensure Oklahoma football and our student-athletes are given the resources and support they need to compete for championships and excel in the classroom."
Shipp had been with Oklahoma since Stoops' arrival in 1999. The former OU linebacker ranks second among all-time tackles in school history.
"Jackie played an integral role on our staff for 14 seasons as we won a national championship, made three other national championship game appearances and won eight Big 12 championships," Stoops said.
Said Shipp in a statement: "It has been a privilege to coach the last 14 seasons at my alma mater, an honor that few coaches in this business are afforded. It was a pleasure to compete with my teammates on Owen Field, and later, to work with a staff that helped so many talented student-athletes achieve their goals. I am particularly grateful for the many enduring relationships that were forged at the University of Oklahoma over the years."
Kittle spent the last two seasons as Oklahoma's offensive tackles/tight ends coach. He joined the program's support staff in 2010 as the school's on-campus recruiting coordinator.
"Bruce made substantial contributions to a pair of Big 12 championships during his tenure with us," Stoops said. "He also played an instrumental role in the development of players like Donald Stephenson and Lane Johnson. I wish Jackie and Bruce the very best moving forward."
Added Kittle: "It's been a great blessing to work with Coach Stoops, our student-athletes and the entire staff at the University of Oklahoma. Our family wishes the Sooners the very best, and we'll always have a fond place in our heart for the many individuals who touched us during our stay in Norman."
Eric Bailey 918-581-8391