Oklahoma Regents Will Approve Curtis Lofton's Appointment to GM

Several Sooners coaches, including Brent Venables, Porter Moser and Jennie Baranczyk, will have their contracts and compensation reviewed and approved as well.
Curtis Lofton
Curtis Lofton / OU Athletics

Curtis Lofton’s appointment to general manager of the Oklahoma football team has been made official.

Rather, it will be made official when the OU Board of Regents meet this week in Ardmore.

Lofton, an All-American linebacker for the Sooners in 2007 and a member of Brent Venables’ SOUL Mission staff the last two-plus years, is expected to be formally approved as Venables’ new GM during two days of actions taken by the OU regents.

Lofton’s annual compensation will increase from $101,500 to $300,000 on a one-year contract, per the regents’ agenda.

In March, Venables tried to describe the need for a general manager position and what his expectations are for the job.

“I think we'd be naive if we didn't look at the change that's going on in college football, both currently and the landscape,” he said. “The toothpaste is definitely out of the tube, and … you're not putting it back in. So we are always looking at all of our processes, our programs, our support systems on how we can continue to improve and be efficient, be really good at what we're doing.

“I always look at trying to hire people who are smarter than me and to surround myself with really good, intelligent people that have either the experience where you want to go or they have acumen to learn and grow and get better and lead. So we're always looking at ways to get better. There's some restructuring and reorganization that we're looking at doing ... and we've been working on this for 16, 18 months.

“A lot of it's where we feel like college football is going and making sure that we were in a position of strength, we're not reacting and when it does happen. This is going to continue to be just kind of a process and it's — you wish it was a little more congruent, but, you know, it's kind of a piecemeal of what's going on in college football. So we've been working hard and diligently trying to anticipate the things that we do often do programmatically to strengthen us. So that'll be somewhere here in the near future.” 

Lofton’s coming appointment has been known but remained unofficial for several months.

“Curtis has been doing what he has been doing in the last couple of years,” Venables said in March. “He's been fantastic, SOUL Mission as a whole is fantastic, and remember, SOUL Mission isn't just one job. It's holistic development. And they're leaders, they're mentors, they're recruiters, they're therapists, they're competitors. And Curtis brings a lot to the table. The same things that he did as a player, now he's using those same transferrable skills as a leader in our program. So he's been fantastic.”

Lofton grew up in Oklahoma a high school star at nearby Kingfisher, and famously wanted to attend Oklahoma State and play for the Cowboys. But then-coach Les Miles didn’t answer Lofton’s call, and Venables — then OU’s linebacker coach and defensive coordinator — phoned Lofton at just the right time.

He was a backup in 2005 and 2006, but then blossomed into an All-American and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2007 when he recorded 157 tackles with 10 tackles for loss and three interceptions.

OU announced numerous other actions with athletic department personnel and spending:

* Regents will review and likely approve compensation for Venables and assistant football coaches Miguel Chavis and DeMarco Murray and football operations director Woody Glass (from $310,000 to $350,000). Last year, Venables made $7.1 million in the second year of a six-year, $43.5 million contract.

* Men’s basketball head coach Porter Moser and assistants Clay Custer, Armon Gates, Ryan Humphrey, Paul Jepperson (from $120,000 to $170,000) and Brock Morris (from $235,000 to $255,000).

* Women’s basketball head coach Jennie Baranczyk and assistant coaches Jonas Chatterton, Shannon Gage and Michael Neal.

* Women's gymnastics head coach K.J. Kindler and assistants Louis Ball and Thomas Haley.

* Women’s rowing coach Sarah Trowbridge.

* Men’s tennis head coach Nick Crowell.

* President Joe Harroz.

OU is also implementing an increase in travel operating expenses — “primarily due to Athletics travel for conference events” via air charter services — from $3.8 million to an estimated $4.5 million. OU has spent $3.2 million on air charter services in the current fiscal year 2024 (through April). Per the regents agenda, funding has been identified and is available and budgeted with the athletic department operating account.

The athletic department also expects to spend an estimated $2.3 million for cleaning services in FY 2025, compared to $1.7 million spent in the current fiscal year. An increase in security services — from $1.2 million in FY 2023 to $1.5 million next year — is also expected.

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John E. Hoover


John is an award-winning journalist whose work spans five decades in Oklahoma, with multiple state, regional and national awards as a sportswriter at various newspapers. During his newspaper career, John covered the Dallas Cowboys, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Oklahoma Sooners, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, the Arkansas Razorbacks and much more. In 2016, John changed careers, migrating into radio and launching a YouTube channel, and has built a successful independent media company, DanCam Media. From there, John has written under the banners of Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, Fan Nation and a handful of local and national magazines while hosting daily sports talk radio shows in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and statewide. John has also spoken on Capitol Hill in Oklahoma City in a successful effort to put more certified athletic trainers in Oklahoma public high schools. Among the dozens of awards he has won, John most cherishes his national "Beat Writer of the Year" from the Associated Press Sports Editors, Oklahoma's "Best Sports Column" from the Society of Professional Journalists, and Two "Excellence in Sports Medicine Reporting" Awards from the National Athletic Trainers Association. John holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications from East Central University in Ada, OK. Born and raised in North Pole, Alaska, John played football and wrote for the school paper at Ada High School in Ada, OK. He enjoys books, movies and travel, and lives in Broken Arrow, OK, with his wife and two kids.