Florida Coaching Candidate Profile: Oklahoma HC Bob Stoops

With the news of Will Muschamp’s firing, we’re profiling the candidates to take over as Florida HC. Today, we’re taking a look at Oklahoma HC Bob Stoops.

Stoops, 54, started his coaching career in 1983 immediately after graduating from the University of Iowa. A four-year starter and All Big-10 defensive back for Hayden Fry's Hawkeyes, Stoops spent five seasons as a volunteer coach and graduate assistant before taking an assistant role at Kent State. After just one year at Kent State, Stoops was hired by Bill Snyder at Kansas State to take over as defensive backs coach. An integral part of K-State's escape from the Big 12 basement, Stoops was promoted to co-defensive coordinator after two years and held that role from 1991 to 1995.

After Florida gave up 62 points in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl, Steve Spurrier brought in Stoops to re-calibrate the defense. Florida's defense saw immediate results, and their impressive form helped turn Stoops into one of the nation's hottest coaching commodities.

The Oklahoma Sooners eventually won the battle for Stoops, and the program saw immediate dividends - Stoops won seven games in his first year, taking Oklahoma to its first bowl win in four seasons, and in his second season in Norman, Oklahoma went 13-0 and captured the national championship.

Throughout Stoops' tenure, Oklahoma has been one of the nation's most consistently successful programs - the Sooners haven't won fewer than eight games since his first year, and they've never missed a bowl game during his tenure. In his 15 seasons at the helm, Oklahoma has won nine Big 12 Titles and finished in the AP Poll Top 10 nine times as well. Stoops has an overall record of 167-42, including an 8-7 record in bowl games.

The Good: Of all the coaches Florida can realistically target, Stoops has been the most consistent and the most successful. He has strong ties to Florida and remains popular in Gainesville, and his commitment to high-scoring offense and hard-hitting defense fits perfectly with the profile Florida AD Jeremy Foley is looking for.

The Bad: Stoops has been highly critical of the SEC since joining Oklahoma, and his comments about the conference's "propaganda" and weak scheduling certainly didn't go over well with his colleagues down south. There are also questions about his willingness to consider the job - while no one expects employed coaches to do anything but deny speculation, his comments didn't leave much room for argument:

“All I want to be is a candidate at Oklahoma,” Stoops said earlier this week on a Big 12 conference call. “I’m not a candidate anywhere else. I’m finished with that question.”

There's no guarantee that Stoops would even consider the offer if it came his way, but that won't stop Florida's Athletic Department from trying.

How Would The Fans React? It's hard to imagine anyone complaining about this hire. Stoops has been consistently successful at one of the nation's top programs for 15 years, and coaches with that kind of success and longevity don't come around often. Many fans have fond memories of Stoops' defenses during his time in Gainesville, and the vast majority would love to see him back on the sidelines in blue and orange.

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