When Sports Talk Radio broke the news of the retirement of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, it was speculated that he was ill or that he was being relieved due to the players misbehaving. They praised Stoops for winning the National Championship in 2000 and talked about how strong the team is looking for next year. They missed Stoops' best moment: leading their team to take a great stand against racism in 2015.
In 2015, a video appeared showing members of the University of Oklahoma's Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) chapter leading a horribly racist chant on their bus, according to Alejandro Danois with Bleacher Report. The OU went into crisis, threatening to turn the campus into so many other schools with racial conflicts, such as the University of Missouri, Yale University, Emory University, etc.
Stoops responded with his players in a protest against racism, according to Greg Couch with the Bleacher Report. He and more than 100 of his teammates gathered at the statue of former OU coach Barry Switzer. Ty Darlington, one of their players, led the group in a prayer, according to Yahoo Sports' Graham Watson. They were also joined by OU basketball coach Lon Kruger.
Others on campus joined the protest. OU President David Boren also suspended the fraternity, had them move, and began an investigation. It was the best moment of school with Bob Stoops.
This is not to say that Stoops was not so good at winning the National Championship, which they captured against Florida State University in 2000, prevailing against the Seminoles 13-2. At the time, I was graduating from FSU (Class of 2000) with my Ph.D., and I desperately wanted my team to repeat as # 1. But the Sooners won an impressive defensive battle against the defending national champions. They obtained their victory.
This is not to say that Stoops hasn't had a career filled with surprising highlights, according to Sam Cooper of Yahoo Sports. He took over a show that had multiple losing seasons in a row and was the two-time Walter Camp Coach of the Year (2000, 2003). More than 13 times in his years, his team won 10 or more games in his 18 years, accumulating a 190-48 record that is unsurpassed in school history. He also won 10 Big 12 championships, while no one else in the Big 12 won more than 12.
This is not to say that Stoops did not have some problems. There was certainly the terrible incident involving Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon and the violence in which he was involved. Quarterback Blake Mayfield showed some lack of discipline in his charges for alcohol-related incidents and other problems his players had, leading to speculation that this may have played a role in his retirement.
Of course, there could be some incident like a terrible one involving child abuse that plagued Penn State under Joe Paterno, or a scandal like the one that toppled Jim Tressel of Ohio State University, or personal practices that upset Bobby Petrino. at the University of Arkansas. If so, it was something we were unaware of at the time of the Stoops record.
But assuming there are no dark secrets, then Stoops really should be honored, not just for his impressive accomplishments as a coach. He needs to be commended for leading his team in a position against racism, which will hopefully inspire other coaches to do the same.
John A. Tures is professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Twitter account is JohnTures2.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape the next chapter of HuffPost