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Bob Stoops on Oklahoma Coaching Controversy: 'It Kills Me'

The Sooners' Hall of Fame coach expressed personal sadness but said there's no right side or wrong side and said everyone, including the fan base, needs to be unified.

Former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is torn by the current controversy at OU.

On one side, beloved assistant coach Cale Gundy is out of a job and his reputation is tarnished. On the other side, head coach and long-time Stoops aide Brent Venables had to make a difficult and unpopular decision.

“It’s unfortunate, it's sad,” he said Tuesday. “It kills me.”

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Stoops spoke during his usual segment Tuesday afternoon on KREF am1400 in Norman.

While the fan base seems largely divided about the whole incident, Stoops said that’s to be expected — but the divide can be repaired and both sides need to be brought together for the good of the program.

“You can't have a side. There is no good side. There's no right or wrong side,” Stoops said. “It's a very, you know, just unfortunate situation.

“Hard to talk about, really. Just, you know, torn apart. It just hurts. It's tough.”

Cale Gundy and Bob Stoops in 2014

Cale Gundy and Bob Stoops in 2014

Stoops said several times of Gundy, “I love him to death,” but having sat in the big chair at OU, the Hall of Fame coach knows how personally difficult it was for Venables to make the decision he made.

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“Brent didn’t create the situation,” Stoops said. “He's charged with leading the program forward. And I know what that's like.”

Gundy, the Sooners’ quarterback under Gary Gibbs from 1990-93, was the third coach Stoops added to his staff when he got the OU job on Dec. 1, 1998, behind strength coach Jerry Schmidt and Texas recruiting ace Bobby Jack Wright. Stoops commended Gundy for all the “blood sweat and tears” and everything else he’s “put into this program. No one's done more. I mean, he's been incredible.

“But, you know, we all know in every occupation you might be in, one wrong moment or incident can have severe consequences. Every occupation. And sadly, in a moment of, whether it be poor judgment or awareness, he created an incident that has led to these consequences.

“That being said, that one moment doesn't define Cale as a person or his character and heart. We know Cale’s character and heart (have) always been for his players.”

FB - Cale Gundy, Brent Venables, 2022 Spring Practice

Cale Gundy and Brent Venables

The incident happened Friday, and Gundy publicly resigned on Sunday night. Venables issued an immediate statement accepting his resignation, then on Monday issued another statement clarifying why Gundy had to resign — for using a “racially charged” word “multiple times” as he interacted with his receiver corps in the meeting room.

It’s still a major topic of discussion as of Tuesday night, and probably will linger in some manner throughout the upcoming football season — and maybe beyond.

But the best thing for everyone now, Stoops said, is to come together and move forward.

“Whatever side someone's trying to be on,” Stoops said, “you need to take a considerable amount of time and understand all the parties involved and what they're doing within their side.

“The very best way for everybody, all these parties, everybody involved, to move forward, even the fan base to move forward, is to have a degree of understanding for everything, for all parties, and to let it go and then move forward. Because it isn't going to change. It is what it is, and it's unfortunate, it's sad, it kills me. But, again, there is no good position on this. You just have to move forward. And again, have an understanding for all involved.”

Bob Stoops at the Alamo Bowl

Bob Stoops at the Alamo Bowl