Bob Stoops Has Earned Rightful Place in OU Coaches Walk of Fame


For 17 largely successful college football seasons Bob Stoops has held court up and down the sidelines at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, and soon he will have his rightful permanent spot among the life-size representations of the great coaching legends in Sooner football history.

Stoops, the winningest coach in OU football history, is expected to be honored at some future date for his accomplishments in his time as the Sooners’ head coach. A life-size bronze statue will be commemorated in his honor and placed among the existing statues of three other OU coaching legends: Bennie Owen, Bud Wilkinson and Barry Switzer. Those three, along with Stoops, are the only coaches in school history to achieve 100 or more wins in football.

Unfortunately, as the finished sculpture was being transported through the center of the OU campus and down Lindsey Street, the surprise was spoiled and revealed to all when Nate Feken, a sports photojournalist and reporter for KFOR News Channel 4 in Oklahoma City, apparently spotted the statue likeness of the Oklahoma football coach strapped down in a flatbed trailer en route to its temporary destination and posted a photo of the uncovered statue to his Twitter account.

Statues of Owen, Wilkinson and Switzer currently stand adjacent to the stadium complex along Lindsey Street. A sculpture of Stoops will soon join the other bronze likenesses.

Oct 10, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops on the sidelines during the game against the Texas Longhorns during the Red River rivalry at Cotton Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Needless to say, Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione was not at all pleased with the way the way the situation was handled and especially the fact that the statue was transported through town on its way to the OU campus seemingly without any attempt to preserve the surprise and not reveal what it was or the identity.

"We are extremely disappointed in the lack of consideration, respect and care that was shown in delivering the statue to Norman,” Castiglione said in a statement published in the Oklahoma City Oklahoman. “This was completely unnecessary, (and) it certainly is not reflective of the way feel about Bob or the respect we’ll show him when his extraordinary achievements are properly celebrated.”"

According to the Oklahoman article, Castiglione said in the statement released by the university that he wasn’t even aware that the statue was being delivered on the day it was spotted by KFOR’s Feken. The OU athletic director also said that OU has long planned to honor Stoops and that, per the OU head coach’s wishes, the dedication would not be held until a “yet-to-be-determined point in the future.”

The whole incident is unfortunate and could easily have been avoided had there been better communication and follow up between OU officials and the parties involved in the production and distribution of the statue.

Now the surprise has already been disclosed and, as a result, the actual celebration won’t be nearly as impactful or memorable as it would have been had proper procedures been undertaken to better protect the surprise and preserve the dignity of the entire special celebration.