To reach 158 wins as the head coach at the University of Oklahoma isn't so much about the quantity, but what it represents; following in the footsteps of some of the all-time coaching greats at an institution synonymous with the sport itself. With a victory at Kansas State this Saturday, OU head coach Bob Stoops will surpass Barry Switzer to become the program's all-time winningest coach.
Kansas State University in Manhattan was also the first school in a major conference to employ Stoops as a full-time coach, serving first as defensive backs coach in 1989-1990 before being promoted to co-defensive coordinator from 1991-1995. All of that time served under the same head coach, Bill Snyder.
He's the same man who still coaches the 6-4 Wildcats and defending co-champions of the Big 12.
In typical Bob Stoops' fashion, he downplayed the significance of possibly reaching that milestone against his former mentor. "Winning there would be great for our season and this season for all of those reasons," Stoops said. "Outside of that, Coach Snyder and I aren't going to play. We have got teams and staff and a bunch of people working with us and it will be one team against the other."
Reaching 158 career wins takes time. Today's FBS team schedules be as long as 14 games, including a conference championship game and a bowl game. For Stoops, he can reach this mark in just under 15 full seasons Saturday. That's an impressive average of more than 10 wins per season.
To get there that quickly also requires a steady flow of outstanding talent. Considering Stoops' Sooners include a pair of Heisman Trophy winners and numerous All-Americans, that base was covered too. The current OU players that were made available to the media Monday said they were honored to be a part of this historic run.
"That's why I came here was to be a part of that history and that tradition," said senior running back Brennan Clay. "To be a part of that team to help Coach Stoops possibly surpass that mark." Senior center Gabe Ikard echoed Clay's sentiment.
"He often does get the appreciation he deserves," Ikard explained. "He gets a lot of criticism which usually comes from us not playing well. For us to be able to give him something, you know, to leave a mark in OU history, it's special to us and we're very aware of it."
Of course the Sooners still have to go out and win a Big 12 road game this Saturday. On the surface, that may not seem like tall order considering Kansas State is just 6-4 with a season opening loss against FCS opponent. But the Wildcats have won four straight games and managed to beat the Sooners last season for only the second time in the Bob Stoops era.
"[Kansas State's staff] are all great coaches, and they have good players. So they've continued to progress, especially in these last four weeks," said Stoops.
Saturday's game in Manhattan, Kansas is scheduled for an 11:00 a.m. kickoff and will be televised on Fox Sports One.