I feel like a variation of this question keeps getting asked over and over. In this week's variation, we're trying to analyze whether or not Bob Stoops, head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners, is worthy of being deemed one of the top paid coaches in all of college football.
Just so we're all up to speed, Bob Stoops is the third-highest paid coach in college football. According to Business Insider, Stoops trails only Nick Saban of Alabama (No. 1) and Mack Brown of Texas (No. 2). Rounding out the top five, we have Urban Meyer of Ohio State (No. 4) and Les Miles of LSU (No. 5).
For those who are wondering why I have Saban listed as the highest paid coach despite his obvious No. 2 ranking according to that link, this ESPN column should answer any questions. For those that are too lazy/preoccupied/focused/bored with this article already to click on that link, it's probably just as easy to say that Saban got a new and very healthy contract from Alabama.
Let's get back on topic, though, because this article isn't about Nick Saban and his stacks of cash. Rather, it's about Bob Stoops and his stacks of cash, and trust me, it's a lot of stacks—over 4 million stacks (if they were dollars) to be exact.
First thing's first, the point of this article isn't to determine if Stoops and Company are making too much money. We could be discussing for hours whether coaches are overpaid based on their job in comparison to other jobs; this is an argument more commonly directed towards athletes, but coaches making multi-millions each year tend to fall in that category, as well.
Beyond our typically rational arguments that are assuredly based around some form of jealous rage, we the people have very little say over how much any of these coaches are paid. If we were in their position, we wouldn't be complaining, either.
No, this article isn't about throwing Bob Stoops under the bus (and taking his money when he isn't looking), this article is about whether or not he deserves to be one of the highest paid coaches, and that answer is pretty clear, at least, in my opinion.
If I had to provide a short answer, it would simply be, "yes." Am I biased because I cover Oklahoma football? Perhaps, but if Stoops were a terrible coach, you can believe this article would take a radically different turn. Now, does that mean Stoops is perfect? Not by any sense of the word. He still has his occasional slip-ups that send Sooner fans into seizure-like fits, such as that late timeout in last season's Baylor game that happened to give the Bears more time to score.
The fact is simple: nobody is perfect. Still, in times of "trouble," the same knee-jerk reaction is constantly brought up by a number of fans and even some media members: Should Bob Stoops be fired?
I know this isn't exactly the same question as the one I'm currently posing, but it has the same implications. If we were to deem Stoops unsatisfactory, or even satisfactory but unworthy of his current salary, then we would lose him as a coach. Stoops has a really strong bond to the Sooners, but I think if his salary dropped out of the top-five (roughly $400 thousand), he may be more inclined to listen to other job offers.
Somebody would be willing to pay him what he's currently making, and that's because he's one of the best. The majority of teams in college football would be getting a step-up in terms of coaching if Stoops signed on. Actually, just saying "majority" isn't even good enough. It's an overwhelming majority.
This is what pains me when I hear, multiple times during the course of a season mind you, that Stoops should be fired. I'll concede and address the fact that "Big Game Bob" has been an ironic nickname when you factor in the Sooners' three national championship losses in the last ten years.
However, if we rephrase that sentence and add a few parts, it could say, "The Sooners have been to three national championships in the last ten years," and it's still a true statement. Granted, they haven't won any, but they've still been! Guess who hasn't...
...nearly every other team in the country. I'm sure you knew it was coming at some point, so now is the time where I'm going to bring in the stats. Keep in mind, these are the complete stats from the Bob Stoops era at Oklahoma, which ranges from 1999 to present day.
- Win/Loss Total: 139-34
- Winning Percentage: 80.2 percent
- Big 12 Championships: Seven
- Bowl Appearances: 13
- Bowl Victories: Seven
- National Championship Appearances: Four
- National Championships: One
- Seasons With At Least 10 Wins: 10
Pretty good, right? Let's compare those stats to the only man in the Big 12 that's receiving more money than him: University of Texas head coach Mack Brown. Again, this is in the Stoops era.
- Win/Loss Total: 132-36
- Winning Percentage: 78.6 percent
- Big 12 Championships: Two
- Bowl Appearances: 12
- Bowl Victories: Eight
- National Championship Appearances: Two
- National Championships: One
- Seasons With At Least 10 Wins: Nine
Does Bob Stoops deserve to be a top-paid coach?
While Brown has had slightly better luck in bowl games, Stoops has had better numbers across the board. The Sooners have also played in more BCS bowl games, which alludes to tougher competition, which then alludes to the reasoning for Stoops' 7-6 bowl record.
Stoops is also a great recruiter, but Brown and the rest of the Longhorns staff have had even better luck in terms of recruiting classes. Just for a visual reference, let's take a look at the comparison between the two schools' recruiting classes in the last seven seasons (all via ESPN.com).
- 2012: Texas—No. 3; Oklahoma—No. 11
- 2011: Texas—No. 5; Oklahoma—No. 11
- 2010: Texas—No. 2; Oklahoma—No. 5
- 2009: Texas—No. 3; Oklahoma—No. 11
- 2008: Texas—No. 10; Oklahoma—No. 8
- 2007: Texas—No. 3; Oklahoma—unranked
- 2006: Texas—No. 3; Oklahoma—No. 7
Texas has consistently had top five recruiting classes, while Oklahoma has only cracked the top five one time in the past seven seasons. The Sooners weren't even ranked in the top 25 in 2007. Still, Stoops has taken his "lesser" recruits and produced better results.
By this logic, Stoops actually deserves to be paid more than he already is, which makes the answer to the question posed by this article a resounding, "yes." Once again, it baffles me to hear the cries to have Stoops replaced.
Unless the Sooners are getting Nick Saban (and, honestly, I may prefer Stoops), who would be better than Stoops? A better question may be, "Who would the Sooners actually have a chance at getting if Stoops were to be replaced?"
That list of guys isn't going to come close to matching what Stoops has been able to do. I'm more than happy with his salary, and I'm more than happy with the job he's done at Oklahoma.