Retired Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops made a brief return to the field on Tuesday, coach Lincoln Riley said.
“We brought Coach Stoops out of retirement today,” Riley said at his weekly news conference. “He was out on the field and coached with us today. It was great to have him out there.”
The Sooners’ game scheduled for last weekend against West Virginia was postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within the Oklahoma program. Those results apparently impacted the coaching staff as well, creating the need for help.
Test results released by the Oklahoma athletic department on Monday showed that there are 27 active COVID-19 cases among athletes and 13 among staff members across all sports. It’s not clear how many of those cases in either category are specifically tied to the football program.
The Sooners paused football activities last week after the positive cases surfaced; they returned to practice Tuesday. Riley said the Sooners have had this as a contingency plan with Stoops this season in case the need arose.
“It was great,” Riley said. “It’s nice. We’ve kind of had it in our hip pocket this whole time, that if we had any staff member that fell off, we’ve got a Hall of Famer sitting on the bench. That’s a pretty good bench when you can call that guy up.”
Stoops coached the Sooners for 18 seasons before retiring in June 2017. He led Oklahoma to a national championship in 2000, 10 Big 12 championships, 14 seasons of double-digit victories and held a 190-48 overall record before handing off the program to Riley ahead of the 2017 season.
“Just how much he cares about this program, I don’t think there’s anything that he wouldn’t do,” Riley said. “So it was great to have him out there today. It was awesome. Our kids were excited to see him, all of us were excited to see him, so I think he had some fun as well.”
Stoops has been under contract with Oklahoma as a “special assistant” to athletic director Joe Castiglione since his retirement from coaching, thus making him eligible to assist the Sooners in this capacity. Stoops also spent the early part of 2020 coaching the XFL’s Dallas Renegades.
The Sooners (6-2, 5-2 Big 12) are scheduled to return to game action on Saturday night when they host Baylor.