Sooner or later, Stoops is deserving
History tells us that Oklahoma earned its nickname, the Sooner State, from the fact that some land-hungry folks in the late 19th century, known as the Sooners, jumped the starting gun that was to open one section of the territory to settlers and rushed in to take land before they were legally entitled to do so.
Bob Stoops has moved only slightly slower, albeit without hint of wrongdoing, up the pay scale of college football coaches.
Less than 150 years after those settlers gobbled up large chunks of the former Indian territory, Stoops' slightly larger troops ate up chunks, 100 yards at a time, on their way to a 14-0 record and the national championship of college football.
When Oklahoma's victory over Florida State was completed in a hot January night in southern Florida, Stoops was a pauper among his coaching fraternity, earning only around $700,000 a year.
Ohio calling: Soon after, his was the name on everyone's lips when talk centered around Cleveland and Columbus. One had a really bad football team and the other had self-centered, egotistical, under-achieving athletes.
And both towns were in search of a new coach.
So, who better, the reasoning went, then a native Buckeye who just achieved the pinnacle of success?
Well, the people who control the purse strings at the University of Oklahoma saw all of this hullabaloo back East and decided it was time for a good, old-fashioned showdown at high noon.
Their double-barrel response was to double Stoops' salary, to $1.4 million. The "top that" dare by the OU Board of Regents, combined with Stoops' nagging insistence that he was neither a) approached by the Browns or Ohio State, nor, b) interested in coaching the Browns or Ohio State, effectively ended any thought that he was leaving the Sooner Nation.
Good practice: Presumably, the reasons behind the raise were two-fold: a reward for a championship season, and to keep Stoops at OU.
We can only assume then, that the Sooners had an awfully good spring camp, because the OU Regents gave Stoops another bump this past week, effectively pushing his yearly salary to anywhere between $1.8 million and $2 million.
That makes Stoops the second-highest paid coach in the college football ranks, behind only his former boss, Florida's Steve Spurrier. Of course, Stoops never won the Heisman Trophy.
It also dwarfs the mere $1 million or so Ohio State shelled out to lure Jim Tressel from Youngstown State, and he has three more national championship rings than Stoops.
Upset teachers: Inevitably, we'll hear howls of protest from academia, people like Murray Sperber, whose intense personal hatred of Bobby Knight helped spur a movement by Indiana University to dispose of its "shah."
They'll ask, what makes Bob Stoops worth $2 million a year, when our teaching scientists work on far more important, potentially life-saving projects for mere peanuts.
True, but then, those guys never enticed 75,000 people to drive to Norman, Okla., seven times a year just to watch them mix test tubes. And we're pretty sure none of them ever got invited to appear on ESPN's College Game Day and make fun of Lee Corso.
Some will also figure Stoops is holding the university hostage, but nothing's come out to dispute the notion that both raises were originated by the regents. And be honest, if your employer offered a 200 percent pay raise (or even 40-some percent, as this latest one is) ... you would turn it down?
One observer noted that Stoops, should he lead the Sooners to another 14-0 record and a second straight national championship in 2001, would earn about $140,000 per victory.
Or, in simpler terms, it's about $35,000 every time he insults Corso. Now that's a bargain.
XRob Todor is sports editor of The Vindicator. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.