NORMAN — The owner of the most wins in Oklahoma football history and engineer of 10 Big 12 Conference titles and the 2000 national championship, former head coach Bob Stoops was named Monday to the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class by the National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
Stoops, former Florida A&M head coach Rudy Hubbard and 11 former players will be inducted into the College Hall of Fame during the 63rd NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 7 alongside the 2020 Hall of Fame Class (the 2020 event was canceled due to COVID-19). This year's group was named to the class from a national ballot of 78 players and seven coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and 99 players and 33 coaches from the divisional ranks.
"We are extremely proud to announce the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame Class," said Archie Manning, NFF Chairman and a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from Mississippi. "Each of these men has established himself among the absolute best to have ever played or coached the game, and we look forward to immortalizing their incredible accomplishments."
Stoops will become OU's sixth head coach in the College Hall of Fame, joining Bennie Owen (coached at OU from 1905-26), Lawrence "Biff" Jones (1935-36), Bud Wilkinson (1947-63), Jim Tatum (1946) and Barry Switzer (1973-88). OU also boasts 22 former players who are in the College Hall of Fame.
Hired Dec. 1, 1998, Stoops posted a 190-48 (.798) record at OU and coached the Sooners to a school-record 18 consecutive bowl berths. He was the only coach in the BCS era to win the Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl and the national championship, and accumulated more victories over his first 18 seasons than any coach in the game's history.
The Youngstown, Ohio, native guided the Sooners to the most wins of any Power Five program between 1999 to 2016 and led OU to double-digit victories in 14 of his 18 seasons (most nationally during the stretch) and to at least eight wins in each of his last 17 campaigns (good for the longest streak in the nation at the time of his retirement). Seven of his squads finished in the AP top five, including each of the last two, while three more finished No. 6.
A six-time Big 12 Coach of the Year and two-time national coach of the year, Stoops was responsible for reviving one of the most storied programs in college football history. In the four years before he was hired, the Sooners were 17-27-1 (.389) overall and 10-21 (.323) in Big Eight/Big 12 play.
After going 7-5 in 1999 in his debut year in Norman, Stoops promptly directed OU to its seventh national title by going 13-0 and beating Florida State 13-2 in the Orange Bowl. The Sooners played in three more BCS National Championship games under Stoops and made the four-team College Football Playoff in 2015. They spent 30 weeks in the AP poll's No. 1 spot and were atop the BCS standings for a nation-leading 20 weeks. Additionally, his teams registered a .667 winning percentage (60-30 record) against AP Top 25 teams, the best nationally during his tenure.
The Sooners' dominated the Big 12 under Stoops. Oklahoma amassed 10 league titles in his 18 years while no other Big 12 program won more than two during the stretch. OU posted a 121-29 (.807) regular season league record under Stoops, easily outdistancing the second- and third-best marks (Texas, .693; Kansas State, .560). He directed the Sooners to a 25-11 (.694) combined record against rivals Oklahoma State (14-4) and Texas (11-7).
OU's home performance under Stoops was nothing short of incredible. The Sooners won Stoops' first 37 games at Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and went 101-9 in the venue in his 16 years, with all 110 of those contests sellouts. The .918 home winning percentage was the best among Power Five programs from 1999-2016 (Ohio State ranked second at .882). Amazingly, Stoops finished with more Big 12 titles than home losses.
Stoops produced 38 first-team All-Americans and 83 NFL Draft picks while at OU, and coached Heisman Trophy winners Jason White (2003) and Sam Bradford (2008). The 2008 Sooners became the highest-scoring team in college football history, totaling 716 points and averaging 51 points per game.
A four-year starter at safety for Iowa under College Football Hall of Fame coach Hayden Fry, Stoops excelled in 1982 as a team captain, first-team All-Big Ten selection and Iowa's MVP. He began his coaching career as an assistant under Fry at Iowa and followed with a stint at Kent State. After coaching under Hall of Famer Bill Snyder at Kansas State, he joined Hall of Famer Steve Spurrier's Florida staff and helped the Gators win the 1996 national title as defensive coordinator.
In 2001, he started the Bob Stoops Champions Foundation to provide support to children and families in the Norman and Oklahoma City areas. In 2018, Stoops joined current OU head coach Lincoln Riley and Switzer to create the HBC Champions Foundation to supply financial contributions, positive experiences and support to ill or disadvantaged children in Oklahoma. After briefly coming out of retirement in 2020 to coach the Dallas Renegades in the XFL, Stoops serves as a special assistant to the athletics director at OU.
Including the 2021 Hall of Fame class, only 1,038 players and 223 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly 5.47 million who have played or coached the game during the past 151 years. In other words, less than two one-hundredths of a percent (.02%) of the individuals who have played the game have earned this distinction.
STATEMENT FROM BOB STOOPS
"As a son of an all-time, lifelong high school coach, no one appreciates the game of football and the coaching profession more than I do, and so I am truly grateful for and humbled by this honor.
"Football is the ultimate team game with so many pieces that must be put together, and nobody can have success by themself. It takes everybody contributing. Certainly, that was the case for me. From my family to my support staff to my assistant coaches to our administration and to our great fans, I had incredible support at Oklahoma for each of my 18 years and am thankful to everyone who played a role in all our achievements.
"Ultimately, though, the dedication and hard work of the players is what wins, and I am so appreciative of all of the guys who played for me. I felt a great connection to our players from my first year in 1999 all the way through my last season in 2016, and if I did anything right it was always connecting wholeheartedly with them. To me, that's probably the most important thing for a coach — being able to connect with and relate to your players.
"I feel incredibly fortunate to have traveled this road. All the stops along the way were such positives for me and led to the extraordinary opportunity at Oklahoma. The coaches I worked under were the best of the best: Hayden Fry at Iowa, Dick Crum at Kent State, Bill Snyder at K-State and Steve Spurrier at Florida. I feel amazingly blessed that I was around so many remarkable coaches and people.
"In the end, I am so honored to join the College Football Hall of Fame and feel a great sense of humility."