Jeremy Birmingham/Land of 10
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith has a diminishing number of options in hiring a men's basketball coach.

Ohio State basketball’s coaching search stumbles, Bob Stoops bids adieu and more

Ryan Ginn

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Today is Thursday, June 8, and it’s time to Wake Up Sloopy.


Ohio State’s coaching search hits a rough patch

Well, the Ohio State men’s basketball coaching search could certainly be going better.

Late Wednesday night, news broke from ESPN.com college basketball insider Jeff Goodman that Ohio State was interviewing Creighton coach Greg McDermott and, later, that the Buckeyes had offered him the job. The reaction from the media was … well, let’s just roll the responses.

So yeah, not great.

It’s been my working assumption that given the difficulty of hiring someone in June Ohio State already had a big enough name ready to go if it were going to fire the winningest coach in program history. Barring an instance of cold feet or failed negotiating, that appears to have not been the case. Instead, Ohio State was denied by coaches such as Arizona’s Sean Miller and Xavier’s Chris Mack.

Fred Hoiberg of the Chicago Bulls was the hot name for most of Wednesday and there appeared to be interest from both sides before he, too, announced that he wouldn’t be leaving his job for Ohio State.

That apparently left McDermott as the next option in a search that’s quickly gone downhill because of poor timing and planning.

Happy trails, Bob Stoops

While Ohio State was flailing around with its coaching search, a bigger bombshell dropped on Wednesday afternoon.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, the longest-tenured active coach in college football, announced his retirement after 18 seasons with the Sooners. Oklahoma replaced him with offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, viewed as an increasingly trendy coaching candidate in recent seasons. Stoops reportedly has no health problems, and there doesn’t appear to be any reason behind it other than him simply waking up one morning and deciding it was time.

In a statement, Stoops expounded upon that general theme.

“After 18 years at the University of Oklahoma, I’ve decided to step down as the head football coach. I understand there has been some speculation about my health. My health was not the deciding factor in this decision and I’ve had no incidents that would prevent me from coaching. I feel the timing is perfect to hand over the reins. The program is in tremendous shape. We have outstanding players and coaches and are poised to make another run at a Big 12 and national championship. We have new state-of-the-art facilities and a great start on next year’s recruiting class. The time is now because Lincoln Riley will provide a seamless transition as the new head coach, capitalizing on an excellent staff that is already in place and providing familiarity and confidence for our players. Now is simply the ideal time for me and our program to make this transition.

“The Bible says, ‘To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.’ I’m grateful for this season of my life, and feel I’ve fulfilled my purpose here at OU as its head football coach.

Stoops’ retirement means that Oklahoma will bring a new head coach to Columbus for its Week 2 meeting with Ohio State. Riley will still call Oklahoma’s plays as its head coach, but he’ll have just one game to acclimate to that before facing the Buckeyes.

As for Stoops, college football loses another giant in the coaching industry. Amazingly, only four active head coaches have won national championships Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, Alabama’s Nick Saban, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney.

Ohio State’s championship odds improve

If things don’t work out on the hardwood, at least Ohio State fans have football.

The latest national championship odds out of Las Vegas put the Buckeyes narrowly behind Alabama as the favorite to win the College Football Playoff in the 2017 season.

There seems to be three tiers of teams in the minds of Vegas oddsmakers. Alabama and Ohio State are at the top, followed by Florida State and Southern Cal a step below. Then there’s a bigger gap between those two and LSU, Oklahoma, Michigan, Penn State and Clemson.

B1G happenings

• How Kirk Ferentz became college football’s longest-tenured active coach.

• Michigan gets creative with its satellite camp schedule.

• Iowa-Nebraska on FS1 is going to be a ratings disaster.

• Nebraska hosting fan fests before its Friday Night Lights camps.

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