Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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College Sports

June 30, 2014

Oklahoma tries to justify $5.15 million for Stoops

NORMAN, Okla. — In terms of percentage, the raise and extension Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops received on Wednesday were not massive. The bump up to $5.15 million for next season is a 13 percent increase.

New contracts like the one approved by the school’s board of regents have been common. Just about every two years, Stoops, who will begin his 16th season on OU’s sideline in August, and OU have ripped up the previously agreed to seven-year deal and started anew.

What was different about the most recent is the line it crossed. The latest seven-year deal is for $39.9 million over seven years. Stoops is now the second-highest paid coach in college football, trailing only Alabama’s Nick Saban.

He is the fourth highest salaried coach in college sports behind Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, Saban and Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari.

However, just last year there was a strong feeling Stoops had reached the zenith of what OU was willing to pay.

Since OU won its seventh national championship in Stoops’ second season in 2000, athletic director Joe Castiglione and president David Boren have been committed to keeping Stoops among college football’s highest compensated coaches.

But $5 million a year seemed to be a barrier OU did not want to break.

What changed?

The way the 2013 season ended provided momentum, and proved that the Sooners are still rising. It was no shock Stoops’ raise and extension were approved the same day as OU’s $371 million renovation of Owen Field.

The two are linked in so many ways.

The athletic facilities surrounding OU’s campus have either been built from scratch or seen complete overhauls over the last 15 years, much of it paid for by the wins, enthusiasm and revenue generated by OU’s football success over the last decade and a half.

Stoops wasn’t alone in being financially rewarded this week. His assistants all received raises of at least $50,000 a year.

Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, the head coach’s brother, received a $200,000 year raise. He’ll be the sixth highest paid assistant coach in the country.

The staff alone will make $4.01 million next season. Only Clemson, Alabama and LSU have dedicated more money to its football coaching staffs.

The thought running throughout OU’s administration is that you have to spend money to make money. When it comes to the coaching staff, the investment continues to swell because it continues to pay off.

Oklahoma went 11-2 last season to take Stoops’ career record to 160-39, according to The Associated Press. The Sooners defeated Alabama 45-31 in the Sugar Bowl after last season to position itself as one of the favorites to contend for the National Championship in 2014.

*****

John Shinn writes for the Norman (Okla.) Transcript, a sister newspaper to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. A portion of this story was adapted from The Associated Press.

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