I get a call Wednesday afternoon from a friend of mine. She was at the Phoenix airport and heading my way in just a couple of hours. The words she was about to utter were not of Thanksgiving flight delays, pick up times from DFW, or gate assignments, but this:
“I just got a text message from [name redacted] that said: ‘Holy shit, Bob Stoops to be announced as Notre Dame’s next head coach either Tuesday or Wedensday.'”
Now before you laugh at me doing a “name redacted” (P.S. always wanted to do that, but in all seriousness, not sure my buddy would love his name being pasted all over the internet), realize that I too was quite skeptical of this rumor. However, this friend wasn’t one to jump on any little rumor that is posted on an Internet message board, so I decided to go ahead and publicize it, and start some research of my own.
While we were waiting for my buddy to let us know his sources for this, I hit my favorite investigative tool, Google, to see if this was just another Internet-made rumor. What I found shocked me.
I expected to find a post or two from either a ND or OU forum talking about this rumor; however, there were none to be found on such boards, beyond reports that every ND fan had heard at that point: Stoops would potentially listen to ND. However, once I told Google to let me see the most recent results on “Stoops Notre Dame”, I did finally find my smoking gun forum post.
From a UT message board of all things:
I don’t know if it is rumor but I just hear from ND source that Bob Stoops has already made a verbal agreement to coach at Notre Dame.
If that happens, then who the hell will we be facing for years to come?????
My interest all of a sudden piqued. This seemed like just a random UT fan that wasn’t even aware if there was such a rumor out at the time at all. As far as the source he heard this from and the time frame:
He works at Notre Dame. Apparently, Stoops will be signing the dotted line on Sunday.
We’ll see if it is bs by Monday. Stay tuned.
The timeline seemed somewhat off according to what I heard; however, in thinking about it, I could see Stoops making a de-facto agreement before Swarbrick’s Tuesday meeting with Weis and then Stoops being announced officially soon after.
Further adding fuel to the fire was tracing the sources my friend had heard the rumor from: it got traced back to someone “working at the University”.
I was still quite skeptical about the whole situation as I woke up on Friday; however, my eyes about popped out of my head when I saw a South Bend Tribune report confirming that Swarbrick’s top option was indeed Big Game Bob:
A university source (I know I hate that, but I have to) has Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops at the very top of ND athletic director Jack Swarbrick’s wish list.
Again, yet another inside ND source being cited that Stoops was the main target, but this time, an actual media outlet was reporting it. There was no mention of Stoops actually signing a contract with ND, but this was the first sign of smoke of the fire that was the Stoops rumor.
As I woke up Saturday, I found out that Sports Illustrated was also running with the rumor. This time though, another interesting wrinkle was added:
The South Bend Tribune, citing a ”university source,” reported Friday that Stoops is the first choice of ND athletic director Jack Swarbrick, who is looking for an experienced college coach with winning on his resume. There is speculation Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione, whom Stoops likes, might be on the move to Michigan.
Pieces were starting to come together into a more solid picture, one that painted this whole Stoops to ND situation as quite likely: Stoops receiving backlash from OU fans for this season, sees not only that ND wants him to coach the Irish, but at the same time, he sees that his AD might be heading for greener pastures himself as well. Making a move in such a situation really doesn’t seem too far fetched at all.
Then finally, the Internet machine that is fan forums finally got cranking.
I had another friend of mine send me an email late Saturday night. He linked a rumor posted on a Notre Dame forum; however, this wasn’t just a “I heard from a source” post, a Oklahoma radio station actually reported that an offer was going to be made the next morning:
According to Oklahoma radio @ www.thesportsanimal.com. Deal is 8 years, $24 million.
I was just posting what I saw on the thread at the time. I just checked the thread again, and the numbers are conflicting. Someone else posted in that same thread that they heard $50 MILLION over 10 YEARS, with all kinds of bonuses. If that’s the case then Stoops may well listen. It’s also conflicting as to whether the plane is there tomorrow or is already coming tonight. Surely not tonight. But, ND is definitely flying to Norman by tomorrow, that was confirmed on WWLS the sports animal in OKC.
Disclaimer: I am a Sooner fan, didn’t make that clear in original post.
This was from a reliable poster on OUinsider on the incentives, quoting a post he saw on one of the ND forums…not sure which one.
“I found this on a ND board, Im still looking for some more info.
According to one of the Board of Trustees and a source inside the Athletic Department, Swarbrick and Jenkins have put a package together to lure Bob Stoops to South Bend. Here are the main details that are on the table as of yesterday:
1.) A 10-year $50,000,000 base salary, which doesn’t include endorsement and university incentivies.
2.) 3 “special player projects” a year, which may include JUCO transfers.
3.) A contract with Nike (football only)
4.) Additional incentives:
(a) $550,000 for Top 10 Finish
(b) $750,000 for BCS Bowl appearence
(c) $1.2 million for BCS National Championship
(d) $400,000 for 90% or better graduation rate”
His base deal becomes worth more than $7 million a year in years that he gets to the BCS championship and graduates over 90%. This isn’t even including sponsorships, etc. This would be tough to turn down, especially from a powerhouse like ND.
Needless to say, the smoke seemed to be revealing an actual fire. Regardless of the contract information, despite Swarbrick and Stoops denials, the two parties were definitely talking to each other in some capacity.
And then finally, the smoking gun seemed to fire. A thread appeared early Sunday morning citing that “rmolek” posted on Rivals that the deal was indeed done. For reference, “rmolek” is a highly respected poster on Rivals whom tends not only be on the frontlines of such college football rumors, but also seems to be correct on them with freighting accuracy. A poster with a rivals premium subscription went to see just what was posted and reported was “rmolek” had heard:
Huge congratulations are going to be in order very shortly. I can’t mention but many of you already know I’m told. Barring something unforeseen you will have some dynamite news in the next 4-5 days. As an IL fan I am now very worried that Prater and Cooper will be Irish as well. No news obviously on their front as they don’t know who the HC will be yet but Zook, Carroll, and Stoops no, not that one ; ) will have a hard time beating out this man. I really can’t believe this is about to go down. It will be a transition similar to Zook-Meyer at UF. Your program really is in good shape…
Btw I heard gripes about me being wrong on SH. Well the situation with Weis is the reason he isn’t committed to ND. If ND was able to field a defense or win the close ones the last two years they would be a top 10 team Weis’ job would be secure and SH would be your LT next year. Should be interesting to see if a relationship can quickly blossom between he and the new hire. The SOONER this man gets in South Bend the better ND’s class will be…
Bold emphasis is mine for the smoking gun.
So now, with all the pieces coming together, it finally seems like this whole Stoops to ND rumor actually does have some legitimate legs and is worth paying attention too.
It does seem that ND is in a hurry to ship Weis out the door as well as I have seen several different reporters on Twitter report that Swarbrick will be meeting with the players today around 2pm (which also reportedly includes a bowl game vote) and that he will also meet with the coaching staff today as well. Weis could very well be out the door today, meaning the original timeline I heard on Stoops being announced as ND’s new head coach (Tuesday or Wednesday) seems to be right on schedule.
As far as my opinion on all of this…call me Fox Mulder. I want to believe.