Stoops: 'I can't be in two places at once'
OKLAHOMA CITY -- It didn't take Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops long to take himself out of the running for the Notre Dame job.
Stoops said Monday he plans to stay at Oklahoma "hopefully for a good while" and won't be interviewing for any coaching positions after his worst regular season in 11 years with the Sooners.
"What I'm saying is I'm going to be at Oklahoma next year, so I can't be in two places at once," Stoops said on a conference call.
Stoops' name surfaced weeks ago as a potential replacement for Charlie Weis, who was fired Monday following five mostly lackluster seasons at Notre Dame. Stoops responded to the earlier reports by saying "Notre Dame has a coach, and I have a great job" -- a comment some believed left the door open for him to leave once Weis was fired.
Stoops left no doubt this time.
"I fully intend to be at Oklahoma, and hopefully for a good while," he said. "You never know what the good lord brings you but in the end I couldn't be more excited about -- even through a tough year -- the good, quality kids we're working with [and] the great people that I work with daily in our administration.
"I can't help what's said, but in the end, again, I couldn't be more excited and pleased about what we're doing here and what the future holds," he said.
When an Internet report Monday night suggested Stoops had agreed to terms with Notre Dame, he followed up with a written statement issued through the university: "I stand by the comments that I made earlier today. I will be at Oklahoma. Any reporting to the contrary is completely unfounded."
Stoops is under contract with Oklahoma through the end of 2015 after agreeing to a two-year extension earlier this year. That deal, loaded with incentives aimed at keeping him with the Sooners, is one of the richest in college football and would pay him more than $30 million -- or about $4.3 million annually -- if he were to stay for the full term.
Last year, he collected a $3 million bonus for remaining as the Sooners coach for 10 years. Under the new contract, Stoops receives a $700,000 stay bonus at the end of every year with an additional $800,000 -- for a total of $1.5 million -- if he is still the Sooners' coach on Jan. 1, 2011.
The contract also includes incentives for championships, bowl games and high graduation rates.
Stoops said he plans to stay as long as university leaders agree.
"What I am saying is I intend to be at Oklahoma. That's the only place right now -- yes -- what I'm looking to do," Stoops said. "I will never confirm or deny whether I talk or [do] not talk to anybody. And I won't be interviewing for any jobs."
Stoops is 116-29 in his time at Oklahoma, leading the Sooners to seven BCS games and one national championship. With injuries to Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford, tight end Jermaine Gresham and numerous others, he lost five games in the regular season for the first time as a head coach. Oklahoma is awaiting an invitation to a bowl game.
Stoops passed on the chance to say why he preferred to coach at Oklahoma over Notre Dame.
"I'm not favoring anything over anything else," Stoops said. "What I'm saying is I couldn't be more happy and pleased with what we're doing here. And again, I'm not confirming or denying anything about Notre Dame or any other job. My point is this is what I love doing right now."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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