Former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame Monday night. Below is the full transcription of his speech.
I got bad information. Somebody told me this was a Dean Martin karaoke night. Just a joke. I never got to show the light side of me before.
So anyway, my sincere thank you to the Hall of Fame committee for this honor. And my congratulations to my fellow inductees. I'm truly humbled to be here with you and the Hall of Fame members that are in the crowd, great to be a part of you. So thank you very much.
And Patty, I would say back to you that it's been an honor and I have such admiration for the way you coach and everything that you do with your program. You got a true admirer. Patty and I won our first national championships together in 2000. And then she's won more than me after that, but she's the best and awesome.
But I truly feel grateful and thankful to so many people that have helped me and supported me and have been such a positive influence on my program through the years, not my program, the OU program. I'm here because of my time here in Oklahoma and OU and so many people had such a strong and positive hand in it.
And it all began, I'm sitting on the beach with my wife Carol and little Mackie was probably 2 years old at the time, and I get a call from Joe Castiglione who wants to interview me for a job at Oklahoma. And I'm at the beach with Steve Spurrier and Jerry Spurrier, his wife and Carol and I we're hanging out at the beach. And I'm like, "Well, when's the interview? "Well, it's in like a day." So I got to run into some little nondescript store, try and get a coat and tie. And Coach Spurrier and I are talking by the beach. He says "You know what Bobby?" Like he does, you guys know his accent. And at the same time Iowa was recruiting me as well. He says, "You probably got a good shot at that Iowa job, but I bet Oklahoma hires an already head coach."
Well, fortunately, that wasn't the case. And I had a great interview, obviously I did with Joe Castiglione and President Boren and a host of other people. And they handed me the job of a lifetime to coach at Oklahoma. And I don't care what anybody says, one of the top two, three places in all of America.
I was watching the year before, OU was getting their tails whipped in the first game of the year. Was it North Carolina? Whatever, it doesn't matter. I said in the locker room to the other coaches at the Florida staff, I said "That is a crying shame." I said that, meaning Oklahoma is a sleeping giant. Are you kidding me? They're getting beat that bad. So I knew this was a special place. And fortunately, Joe Castiglione and President Boren gave me that opportunity. And I've always felt grateful for that opportunity to coach here with our great fans and the people here, I've been so lucky.
And one of my favorite pictures all time is me being introduced on the steps of Evans Hall to be the head coach. And believe me, I was in a funk. But after I looked at the picture, coach (Barry) Switzer is right over my left shoulder with that big grin of his. I've always, always looked up and followed coach Switzer, his teams. And you talk about a daunting task, every day I went to work I walked into the Barry Switzer Center and I walked pass three national championships all the time. So anyway, I knew what it was about. And I always have felt fortunate that I was able to coach this giant of a program.
Winning a national championship, winning Big 12 championships, at that time Big 8 championships, I always said "When we win like we're supposed to win, it will not be because of me. It will be because of the collective efforts of everybody. The OU program and the fans, it'll be because of everyone." And I also said, "There will be no excuses. You either win or you don't." And fortunately, we won a bunch.
I know everybody wants to remember, and they should, the 2000 national championship team in our second year to go undefeated and win it all, it was great. To be true, though, in hindsight, I wish I had lost the first couple national championships and won later, but we won it right away.
But always remember, the 1999 team. They are the ones that got it started. I love those guys. They got it started, they embraced us. And we had a big game, homecoming, Texas A&M, and people forget now, it's been a long time, but you look at '97, '98 -- A&M was whipping our tails. And I said to our players "We're drawing the line right here." We had been ahead in some games and then lost, and I said "This isn't happening anymore."
I talked to our team and I said "There was no way A&M is beating us anymore. We're changing the course of what we're doing right now. They have been kicking the heck out of us." And we get up on that game, we ran a fake field goal, we ran a fake punt, we we're going after them. We beat them 51-7. And they were defending Big 12 champs. And to me, it gets forgotten, that was truly, in my heart, the game that started to change the tide. We're getting over the hump now. And we're on our way then to being something that we're supposed to be.
I'll be forever indebted to my players. Love My players to death. Couple of them are here tonight, Jason White and Roy Williams. I saw two of our five all time great players. But you know, as Patty said, they're the ones that that do it. The players, the hard work, fight on the field. I love them to death. My assistant coaches. I've had so many great ones through the years that have supported us and appreciate all their efforts and their hard work. My support staff, when you look at trainers, managers, office staff, it goes on and on and on. I got two special ones here tonight, Matt McMillan my right hand man and Julie Watson my right hand woman. So the two of them together, the two of them are really special.
My friends are here and I'm a guy who needs some levity, I need to laugh more than you people think. I like to enjoy my friends and my family. My family for sure. My wife Carol, my daughter Mackie, Drake and Isaac my two twins. You know, when I've said so many times it's like I've never had a job because I never worked? They would disagree. No one else sees the stress, the strain, the faraway look when they're talking to you because I can't get my mind off of a certain situation or the late calls at night when something you've got to deal with isn't good. You know, there's a lot of heartache and a lot of fight and struggle to go through all those years and to go through that goes behind the scenes. It doesn't just happen. It's my life. It becomes their life. It's their struggle because they see me having to work through tough times and that's just part of it.
So, again, my wife Carol is the ultimate wife, the ultimate coach's wife. She has been an incredible partner through all of this. I wouldn't have been able to go through 18 years without her support, her influence. How many times I'd leave in a negative situation and she'd have a positive note on my mirror, something to read.
Real Fast story to finish. We're getting ready to play Alabama. And I'm staying up all night because we had just beat Oklahoma State, Joe Castiglione tells me leaving the field we might play in a BCS bowl game. I go "Really? We didn't even win the Big 12 championship." Well, Joe says we're still Oklahoma. I said "Okay."
So in the morning, I can't ever sleep after games, 5:30, 6:00 in the morning ticker tape goes across. I see Sugar Bowl. I see Oklahoma. "Oh, that's good." Then I see Alabama. "Oh, man."
But the truth with her, I would walk in 6:30, 7:00 or an hour later. I'm going into work, Carol's up. She says "So what you find out on the TV?" I said "You want the good news or bad news?" She says, "Well, give me the good news." I said "We're playing in the Sugar Bowl." She goes "So what's the bad news?" "We got to play Alabama." She looked right at me, didn't hesitate. And she says "And they're over there saying 'Oh no, we got to play Oklahoma.'" She was right. We beat them by 14.
Thank you to all the fans, everybody. You've been great to me I love living here in Oklahoma and Boomer Sooner.