Florida coaching search: Bob Stoops shoots down potential college football return to coach Gators


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Ben Queen / USA TODAY Sports

After Florida fired Dan Mullen, one of the immediate names to come up for the vacancy was longtime Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. A former defensive coordinator under legendary Gators coach Steve Spurrier, Stoops’ name has surfaced alongside other college football openings over the past few years, but his connection to Florida made a lot of sense. 

It looks like Florida will have to keep looking, though. Speaking on The Sports Animal Wednesday, Stoops denied that he was interested in the job  “I love what I’m doing with TV. I enjoy watching my son play, and the Sooners,” he said. “I’m not looking to get into that.” 

From 1996 to 1998, Stoops was the Gators’ DC when the program went 32-5 and won the 1996 national championship. Stoops went on to enjoy great success of his own as the head coach of the Sooners, which won the 2000 national championship in his second season. In nearly two decades with Oklahoma, Stoops led the Sooners to 14 10-win seasons and 11 top-10 finishes.  

Stoops promptly retired at just 56 and handed the reins to Lincoln Riley, who has built on his success. Stoops has enjoyed a post-coaching career in broadcasting for FOX, but came back to coaching briefly in the defunct XFL with the Dallas Renegades. 

Notably, Stoops’ father Ron Stoops Sr. — a high school football coach — died at 54 after experiencing chest pains on the sideline of a football game in 1988. It’s easy to imagine how that experience might have shaped his desire to step away and find a favorable work-life balance as he entered his 60s. Stoops’ son, Drake, is a junior wide receiver on Oklahoma’s roster and has caught 40 passes for 515 yards and three touchdowns in his career. 

Bob Stoops isn’t the only member of his family circulating in coaching rumors. Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, Bob’s brother, has been quickly mentioned for the opening at LSU. Stoops has led the Wildcats to six straight bowl games and a 57-53 overall record. His other brother, Mike Stoops, is the former head coach at Arizona and serves as defensive coordinator at FAU. 





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