NORMAN, OK—A coach is defined by winning championships, but one of the easiest ways to determine who is truly great is to look at his coaching tree.
History is full of coaches who had strong coaching trees and assistants who left their programs to take over as head coaches elsewhere and have success.
Haden Frye, Dan Snyder, and Bud Wilkinson are just a few coaches whose coaching trees are legendary.
Stoops was a result of those legendary trees, learning from Snyder who learned from Frye, and two months ago he had a strong tree of his own starting to grow despite only being a had coach himself for little more than a decade.
Kevin Sumlin, Mark Mangino, and Mike Leach were by far the strongest branches on that tree, if you do not give him credit for his own brother who also came from out from under Bob Stoops.
While Sumlin still looks strong, the other two branches seem to have been sawed off, hurting Stoops's legacy as a coach who left behind a strong "tree" of coaches.
The puzzling part is Stoops has never been accused of mistreating players. Actually, his reputation is quite the opposite.
Even players who transfer or are cut hardly have anything bad to say about him.
Rhett Bomar, whom Stoops cut from the Sooners after finding out he was being paid for a no-show job, has never publicly berated Stoops.
In the last six weeks, two of Stoops's former assistants have been fired from head coaching positions—one for physically, or maybe, mentally abusing a player, and the other for verbally abusing players.
It is hard to believe their behaviors were a result of their time in Norman because Stoops is known for forcing coaches to have family nights and his new mantra of the past few years of always trying to do the right thing.
In the military they say, "One is an anomaly, two is a trend," but it is hard to believe Stoops would foster this, seeing how he has coached longer and has had no similar incidents himself. Nor did either coach have such problems under his tutelage.
Both Leach and Mangino's careers and legacies are far from over. They will resurface somewhere, but where and how successful they can be at those new homes will affect both their own legacies and that of Bob Stoops.
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