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ESPN: Mike Stoops could soon be back at Oklahoma

Could Mike Stoops be wearing crimson and cream next season? Photo by Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Former Arizona coach Mike Stoops spent all week hanging out with his brother Bob.

That could soon become a more permanent arrangement.

Bob Stoops’ Oklahoma team defeated Iowa 31-14 in the Insight Bowl in Tempe on Friday night, and ESPN sideline reporter Heather Cox said near the close of the telecast that there were “strong indications” Mike Stoops soon would be rejoining the Sooners’ coaching staff.

Mike Stoops was OU’s defensive backs coach and co-defensive coordinator from 1999 to 2003, becoming one of the nation’s hottest assistant coaches before taking the Arizona head coaching job for the 2004 season.

Stoops rebuilt the Wildcats program, advancing to three consecutive bowl appearances from 2008 to 2010. But athletic director Greg Byrne fired Stoops at midseason after UA had lost 10 straight games to FBS competition. Stoops was 41-50 in 7 1/2 seasons.

Within about 20 minutes of ESPN’s speculation, the name Mike Stoops was trending on Twitter.

Bob Stoops hasn’t said much about the possibility of Mike rejoining the staff, if only because he has no openings on his coaching staff at the moment. That could change after the bowl game, and current defensive coordinator Brent Venables has said he’s OK with sharing the DC title with Stoops again, as they did from 1999 to 2003.

Bob was asked at a Thursday news conference if he thought Mike would be a defensive coordinator or a head coach next season.

“I think he has opportunities both ways,” Bob said. “What he prefers is a good job, not one way or the other. I think there is a legitimate chance for each of those.”

Mike Stoops, who attended the Insight Bowl, has been rumored to be in contention for other jobs this offseason. He appeared to be a good fit as defensive coordinator at Ohio State (he talked to new coach Urban Meyer), Nebraska (good friends with Cornhuskers coach Bo Pelini) and South Carolina (good friends with coach Steve Spurrier).

But those jobs have all been filled.

Mike Stoops told KOLD-TV’s Dave Cooney this week that he hoped to coach next season as a defensive coordinator, which is what he was “exploring at this time.”

His search might soon be over.

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