Stoops recorded his 150th career win in this season’s opener against Louisiana-Monroe, in his 187th game. He became the sixth-fastest to reach 150 wins at the FBS level — a list topped by Switzer, who did so in 180 games.
Oklahoma’s football offices are dubbed the “Switzer Center” and even a quarter-century removed from his coaching career, Switzer remains an Oklahoma icon - revered as much for his folksy, open personality and approachability as his three national titles.
Switzer didn’t return a phone message left by The Associated Press this week, although he and Stoops have a friendly relationship, as evidenced by Stoops’ postgame comments Saturday, after the Sooners beat Iowa State to allow Stoops to tie Switzer.
“All I’ll do is compliment coach Switzer,” Stoops said. “He was a special coach at his time. Not many coaches have a Super Bowl with three national championships (and have) his unique ability to relate to his players. And then I appreciate his friendship. He’s been a great friend to me, a great friend to everybody in this program. We’re fortunate he still comes around and sees us.
“He’ll always be one of the most special and one of the greatest coaches in all of college football.”
Stoops often has said the reason he’s remained so long at Oklahoma has to do with his relationship with athletic director Joe Castiglione and university President David Boren, the two men who hired him in 1999. The trio have been together ever since, the longest current grouping of a president, athletic director and football coach at the FBS level.
On Wednesday, Castiglione declined comment about Stoops surpassing Switzer’s win total, saying he’d discuss it at length after it happens.
But Oklahoma’s players certainly are aware of what their coach has achieved and want to give him the record win on Saturday.