NORMAN — Former Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops writes extensively about the process of coming to terms with stepping away from the Sooners in his soon-to-be-released book “No Excuses: The Making of a Head Coach.”
“I had probably stayed at OU too long,” Stoops wrote in the book, which is co-authored by ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski. “And in the not-so-deep recesses of my mind, I didn’t want to risk dying on the side of a football field as my dad had done 28 years earlier.”
The Oklahoman was provided an advance copy.
In the book, which will be released Sept. 10, Stoops writes that he has been diagnosed with a form of heart disease, though he hasn’t had a “major heart episode.”
Stoops writes that he told his wife, Carol, of his decision to step down the day before the 2016 Bedlam game to end the regular season. The Sooners won that game 38-20 to clinch the Big 12 championship.
Stoops said he told his wife then so they could fully appreciate every moment of their last home game.
Carol’s first reaction was to ask if he was sick or unhappy in his job. Neither were the case.
“I wasn’t the man I used to be,” Stoops wrote. “I wasn’t the husband and father that I needed to be. Whatever wall you reach in your life, I had slammed against mine — and it didn’t give this time.”
But after Oklahoma’s Sugar Bowl win over Auburn, Stoops waffled.
When he initially talked to athletics director Joe Castiglione and David Boren, then OU’s president, the pair asked Stoops to consider naming Lincoln Riley the coach in waiting, while coaching the 2017 season before stepping down.
After a month, Stoops decided it was time to walk away and hand over the keys to the program to Riley.
“Either I’m the boss or I’m not,” Stoops wrote. “You can’t sort of be the head coach.”
Stoops spent 18 seasons with the Sooners, going 190–48 overall, winning 10 Big 12 titles and the national championship in 2000.
He touches on plenty of other topics in the wide-ranging book, including the dismissals of both Josh Heupel when he was the coach and his brother, Mike Stoops, in Riley’s second season in charge.
“It’s never easy,” Stoops wrote, saying that Riley had asked him if he’d understand if Riley decided to fire Mike.
He also touches on his weekly trips to the The Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City, Baker Mayfield’s transfer to OU after the 2013 season, the 2014 incident involving Joe Mixon and the subsequent fallout and many other subjects.
The book is being published by Little, Brown and Company.