STOOPS LEAVES OU; WES WELKER JOINS TEXANS
Head football coaches come and go in both the college ranks and in the National Football League without much fanfare. Most head coaches accept the job with the idea they will be fired at some point in time.
However, when they retire after a brilliant career or suddenly decide to leave the school or pro team, it does become big news.
Last Wednesday, out of the blue, Bob Stoops announced that he was leaving the University of Oklahoma after 18 years and one national championship and 10 conference titles. He was the most tenured head football coach in college football, fashioning an impressive 190-48 record with the Sooners and an even more dazzling worksheet of 101-9 in home games.
The media immediately suspected that he was either forced out by unhappy alumni or was the subject of a scandal or major controversy.
But Stoops insisted there was nothing more to his story. “I guess people have a hard time when someone just makes the decision to handle their life the way they want to—and step away in a proper fashion and hand some thing off that’s so good, but really is just the way it is,” Stoops said Friday on “The Dan Patrick Show”.
Even more surprising was the fact his assistant coach-in-waiting, 33-year-old Lincoln Riley was named the new Sooner head coach also on Wednesday afternoon.
Stoops left the Sooners in good shape. He was very successful, well-respected, well paid and not in danger of losing his job, according to a column that appeared in Sunday’s edition of The Houston Chronicle.
One Division I coach called Stoops’ decision to step down now “brilliant,” the column added.
“He’s walking away a legend,” commented the coach who spoke on condition of anonymity. “He’ll be remembered for all the good stuff, all the recruits, all the coaches who have great jobs that started with him. And he’s leaving while everything is getting even harder on the recruiting scene. You have to hand it to him.”
Since Stoops first took the head coaching job at Oklahoma, things have changed quite a bit in college football. “There weren’t 7-on7 tournaments all summer long. Recruits weren’t waiting until national signing day to jump on a plane to announce their school of choice,” according to the Chronicle.
“There also was no Twitter or Facebook, no non-stop following of every player or potential for signs of problems that inevitably will show up all over the internet during the round-the-clock news cycle.
“As a head football coach contending for a national title every year, that life is constant scouting, traveling, game-planning, finding new coaches, sitting in recruits living rooms and always focusing the majority of attention on the team and on winning,” the article added.
The 56-year-old Stoops stated that he simply wants to live his life away from all that constant turmoil. He’s a self-proclaimed family man with a wife and three children.
I believe that Bob Stoops will one day soon show up in the National Football League.
And while one coach’s career is ending another is just beginning as Wes Welker—perhaps the best slot receiver in NFL history—will begin his first coaching job as an offensive and special teams coach for the Houston Texans.
He will be starting his coaching career working with many of his old friends and former teammates after closing out a brilliant career–mostly with the New England Patriots—highlighted by three Super Bowls, five Pro Bowls, five seasons with at least 111 receptions and five with at least 1,165 yards according to Sunday’s Houston Chronicle.
Head Coach Bill O’Brien and Welker both joined the Patriots in 2007 and grew up in this offense at the same time. Welker also worked under assistant head coach Roman Crennel at New England and played with current Texans’ defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel and special teams coordinator Larry Izzo.
“Welker reached out to O’Brien who offered him an entry-level position with the Texans. Welker has been assisting with receivers, working with returners, breaking down tape and sometimes serving as an official during practice,” the article continued.
“Welker spent last year out of football, being a husband and a father, running his foundation and enjoying his love for race horses, but he had an itch to enter the coaching profession,” the article concluded.
One of his major projects this year is to work closely with second-year slot receiver Braxton Miller.
Welker has learned patience being a receiver in the NFL. He knows what receivers are experiencing and is sympathetic to their growing pains.
And Welker is learning the coaching profession every day the same way he did as an NFL receiver.
“I’m still transitioning, but it’s been good,” Welker told the Chronicle. “It’s almost like being a rookie all over again, just in a different aspect.
“I’m trying to learn from all the other coaches who have been doing it for a long time and pick up a lot of that stuff. Oh, and at the same time, learn how to turn on a computer.”
KWICKIES…Congrats are in store to the Port Neches-Groves Indians baseball team for winning the state championship in Class 5A last weekend. The Indians nipped Frisco Wakeland 3-2 in the semifinals at Round Rock and then knocked off defending state champion Grapevine 4-2 in Saturday’s championship game. This marks the fourth area team to capture a state championship—West Orange-Stark in baseball, Silsbee in boys basketball and Beaumont Legacy Christian in girls basketball.
The East walloped the West 32-7 in the third annual Christus High School All-Star football game played at The Butch Saturday night in Beaumont. Winning coach Toby Foreman saw former West Orange-Stark Mustangs defensive tackle Te’Ron Brown scoop up a fumbled pitch and race 69 yards for a touchdown to help break the game wide open.
And while on the subject of former Mustangs stars, one of the biggest to ever don a West Orange-Stark uniform, Earl Thomas, is getting things finalized for his annual Free Football Camp on June 23-24 from 8 a.m. until noon both days. Registered campers are asked to pick up their T-shirts on Thursday June 22 at the West Orange-Stark High school concessions and gym. The camp features Seattle Seahawks All-Pro Thomas and several other NFL players.
Tapwrit put on a burst in the final quarter mile and beat the Belmont Stakes favorite Irish War Cry by two lengths on a fast track Saturday afternoon. Five of the last nine Belmont winners opted to skip the Preakness and come back fresh for the final leg of racing’s Triple Crown. Tapwrit paid $12.60 to win, $6.50 to place and $5.00 to show. The 2-7 exacta paid $47.30 on a $2 bet. A $5 bet across the board on the winner plus a $2 exacta wager would have given the lucky bettor more than $100 return on his $17 bet.
Daniel Berger shot four-under par 66 on both Saturday and Sunday to win the St. Jude Classic by a stroke over Wee Kim and Charl Schwartzel and collected a winner’s check of $1,152,000. He successfully defended his championship, winning for the second straight year.
JUST BETWEEN US…The Houston Astros’ 11-game winning streak came to an abrupt end last week, losing four of the next six games going into Monday’s series against the surging Texas Rangers. But if the Astros can play .500 baseball for the rest of the season, they still would win 92 games which should be enough to win the AL West pennant. But they have a major problem with their pitching staff, with four of the five starters on the disabled list and a bullpen that’s dog-tired. Last weekend’s two losses to the LA Angels was the first series the Astros lost to a division foe this season.