Friday, January 05, 2001

Stoops denies interest in Ohio State

Oklahoma coach indicates he will stay with Sooners

Enquirer wire services

        COLUMBUS Just a few hours after winning the national championship, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Thursday he was not interested in filling the vacant job at Ohio State.

        Asked if he had been contacted by Ohio State and if he was willing to talk to officials about replacing the fired John Cooper, the Ohio native said: “No and no.”

        Later, he said he would talk to Ohio State officials if they called.

        “If someone calls, you always talk to them,” the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Stoops saying.

        Stoops said he would have no problem recommending his brother, Mike, for the job. Mike, 38, is OU's associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator.

        Oklahoma athletics director Joe Castiglione lashed out at Ohio State in a postgame interview with CBS

        “We're playing in a national championship game. What the hell are they thinking?” he said of Ohio State officials. “Do they think he's going somewhere else? He just won the national championship.”

        Castiglione said contrary to published reports, there is no escape clause in Stoops' contract that would allow him to leave to coach Ohio State. But Castiglione conceded he may not be able to prevent Ohio State from pursuing Stoops.

        “I don't know that there is anything legally we can do to prevent Bob from speaking to anyone,” Castiglione told the Columbus Dispatch. “I'm certainly not going to provide my permission. It's not contentious or anything of that nature. Why? We've taken some critical steps to focus on what helps our program, and obviously a big part of that is a quality head coach and quality assistants.”

        An Ohio State advisory group selected to help pick a replacement met for a couple of hours Thursday behind closed doors.

        “Andy (Geiger, AD) said it was a good, productive meeting,” Ohio State spokesman Steve Snapp said. “There was a good exchange of thoughts and ideas, and they discussed some names.”

        Snapp said he could not disclose the names that were mentioned.

        ESPN reported Wednesday that Ohio State would ask for permission to talk to Stoops, a Youngstown native, as soon as possible.

        At his post-bowl news conference Thursday morning, Stoops said: “I'm an Oklahoman. Oklahoma is the No.1 team in the United States, and there's not a better place to coach or go play football in America.”


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