OU football players, fans react to coach Bob Stoops’ retirement

NORMAN, Okla. - The bronze statues in Heisman Park loom large, just outside of Gaylord Memorial Stadium.

One could argue it's the house that Stoops built.

But Stoops' tenure as the Sooner football head coach is now over, announcing his retirement Wednesday.

"Stepping down after 18 years as head coach here at Oklahoma and I feel like I’ve been absolutely the luckiest, most fortunate guy in the world," said Stoops at a press conference Wednesday.

Over the course of 18 seasons at the helm of Sooner football, he posted a 190-48 record (the winningest football coach in school history), 18 consecutive bowl berths and won nine Big 12 titles (and tied for another).

He's also the only coach in the BCS era to win a national championship and every BCS bowl game.

During the roughly hour-long press conference, Stoops spoke about his time with the program. Offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley has since been named as OU's head coach.

"The hardest part of coming to terms with all this is seeing my players just a little while ago," Stoops said.

As news of Stoops retirement spread Wednesday afternoon, reaction came swiftly.

“Just shocked," said quarterback Baker Mayfield. "Because coach Stoops is the face of Oklahoma Football, has been just going to be a little bit different.”

“Everyone is pretty shocked, of course. It’s breaking news to everyone. Everyone is just trying to — I think times like this are always shocking but then they bring teams together," said senior and defensive back Will Johnson, after players met with Stoops prior to the press conference.

"I think coach Stoops is very comfortable with handing him the job," said Johnson. "I don’t think he would have done it without being confident in Lincoln Riley. Great coach to the next one.”