Bob Stoops has advice for Urban Meyer: ‘Have some patience’ in retirement

NEW YORK – A bearded Bob Stoops strolled through a hotel lobby Tuesday afternoon, looking relaxed and happy. But the former Oklahoma coach had some advice for Urban Meyer, who’s joining him in retirement.

“It’s not easy, let me tell you,” Stoops said. “I’d tell him, ‘Have some patience.’ It takes time. It’s such a drastic difference. It takes a lot.

“I’m still not adjusted – but there’s still time.”

Although their circumstances were different, there were some parallels.

Meyer, 54, announced his retirement Tuesday morning after seven years at Ohio State. The Buckeyes promoted offensive coordinator Ryan Day.

Stoops was 56 when he stepped away in June 2017, after 18 years at Oklahoma. He handed the program to offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, who has taken the Sooners to consecutive Big 12 championships and two College Football Playoff appearances.

“Our transition has been incredibly smooth,” Stoops said. “I’m happy for that, and happy that our program continues to thrive.”

Day served as the Buckeyes’ interim head coach for the season’s first three games, while Meyer was serving a suspension after the school’s investigation into Meyer’s handling of domestic violence allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith.

Meyer called Day an “elite” coach who is primed to continue the Buckeyes’ success. Stoops declined to make the comparison – “That’s for them to say, not for me,” he said – but Meyer’s comments sounded similar to the way Stoops described Riley when he stepped away.

“It was obvious to me (Riley was ready),” Stoops said, “and I think that’s why I got the feeling that I did. … To me, it was important that our program continue in a great way. I thought, ‘You know, this is an opportunity for me to do what I want to do in life, whatever that may be.’ But bottom line, here’s an opportunity for me to step away and leave it going as smoothly as possible.

“I not only was looking out for me, but looking out for the program and me. I found the right blend that, ‘You know what? This is perfect.’

“Hopefully for Urban, it works out great for him.”

Stoops added: “I’m happy for him, and if this is the right thing for him and his family, then great. He’s done an awesome job and I’m excited for whatever else comes to him.”

Stoops noted that Meyer spent a year out of coaching after resigning at Florida in 2010, so “he knows” what it’s like. But he said the most difficult part of retirement after coaching is “all of it.”

“The intensity, the competition, the challenge of this,” he said. “But also for all of us that played as well as coached, it’s been 40 years of my life I’ve been with a gang of guys. It’s like, you always had your crew and all of the sudden you don’t have a crew anymore. You’ve got your players and your coaches and a fraternity of guys you’re constantly interacting with every single day, and all of the sudden you go to being alone. So that’s not easy to handle.”

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