Norman — Some of the most successful coaches in college football history have led Oklahoma.
Step off the elevators into the club-level seating lounge at the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and there are life-size photos of the three most famous — Bud Wilkinson, Barry Switzer and Bob Stoops.
Now Stoops, in his 15th season at the Sooners’ helm, is set to pass Switzer as the winningest coach in Oklahoma history. A win for No. 22 Oklahoma (8-2, 5-2 Big 12 Conference) at Kansas State (6-4, 4-3) on Saturday would be No. 158 for Stoops. It’s a milestone that Stoops claims he hasn’t thought about “at all.”
“You can say that he’s lying, but why would I?” Stoops said. “I haven’t picked up a paper since the week before the first game or looked at it. I watch national news and CNN isn’t talking about it. I try to keep up with what’s happening in the world. That kind of stuff has no place for me, just because it’s not what is important.”
Oklahoma has more 10-win seasons (34) than any other Football Bowl Subdivision program. Bud Wilkinson won 145 games from 1947-63. Barry Switzer passed Wilkinson, winning 157 games from 1973-88.
Entering the season, Stoops’ average of 10.6 wins per year was tops among active FBS coaches with 10 or more years of experience. He is the only active coach at an FBS program to have taken his team to a bowl game in each of his first 14 seasons and that streak will be extended this season. He is 157-39 overall, an 80.1-percent winning clip.
Stoops guided Oklahoma to a somewhat surprising national title in 2000, in just his second season. Stoops’ success came after a five-year stretch during which the Sooners failed to post a winning record under Gary Gibbs (whose six-year tenure ended in 1994), Howard Schnellenberger (1995) and John Blake (1996-1998).