Several national media sources are reporting that Mike Stoops is returning to Oklahoma, where he was defensive coordinator from 1999-2004, where he will be reunited with his brother, head coach Bob Stoops.
Mike, who is 50 and a year younger than Bob, is expected to be named the Sooners' defensive coordinator, the role he had before he left Oklahoma at the end of the 2003 season to become head coach at Arizona. He held that post for seven seasons before being fired six games into this season. Bob brought Mike with him to Oklahoma when he became Oklahoma's head coach. Both had been on Bill Snyder's coaching staff at Kansas State.
It is unclear what this means for Brent Venables, who also came to OU from Kansas State with the Stoops' brothers in 1999. Venables was co-defensive coordinator with Mike, and was promoted to defensive coordinator when the younger Stoops brother went to Arizona.
"We haven't talked about that," Mike told Associated Press college football writer Jeff Latzke. "Me and Brent have always worked well together, and that's the reason I am going back to work with him and Bob. So that's the least of our concerns at this point."
Venables is rumored to have interviewed this week for the open defensive coordinator job at West Virginia, which will be joining the Big 12 as a new member either this year or in 2012, depending on the outcome of a pending legal challenge. Venables has also been linked to defensive coordinator roles at Clemson and Auburn. The job of current defensive backs' coach Willie Martinez is also potentially in jeopardy. The Sooners' pass defense has been gouged and picked apart the last several seasons.
Oklahoma has made no official announcement that Mike Stoops is returning to the Sooners' coaching staff.
During the broadcast of the Insight Bowl, where Oklahoma defeated Iowa, 31-14, to win its third consecutive postseason bowl game, the announcers reported that all indications were that Mike Stoops would be rejoining the OU coaching staff. Asked at the time if there was any truth to that rumor, Bob Stoops responded by saying he didn't have an opening on his staff.
The Sooners were in the top ten nationally in total defense 2000-03 during the time that the younger Stoops brother was making the defensive calls. Over the last four seasons, the Sooners have finished in the top 50 in defense in only one year (2009). It should be pointed out, however, that at Arizona, Mike Stoops' defense hasn't fared any better than OU's has recently. Before he was replaced at Arizona last season, the Wildcats was ranked among the bottom ten teams in the nation in scoring defense and points allowed.
"Going back to Oklahoma was pretty much a natural fit for me," Mike Stoops said. "Spending five years there with Bob and getting to play in two national championship games was pretty special.
"I think when you're at Oklahoma, you always have the opportunity to win championships," he said. "That's what's expected, and certainly that's exciting."
Mike said he also considered opportunities to join the staffs at Ohio State and Texas A&M.
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