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Stoops Sticking With Sooners

Talk that Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops was thinking about taking the Cleveland Browns' head coaching job turned out to be just that.

Stoops said Saturday that he plans to remain at OU "for a long time," ending speculation that the coach who led the Sooners to a national championship might move on after just two years.

"Regardless of what you hear, I plan on being at Oklahoma for a long time," Stoops said to thunderous applause from a near capacity crowd during halftime at the Kansas-Oklahoma men's basketball game.

"I still believe it's a privilege to be the head football coach at Oklahoma," Stoops said. "I've got the very best assistant coaches in the country and I get to coach the best players in the country."

The Browns fired coach Chris Palmer on Thursday, and Stoops said he would talk to representatives of the Browns if they called. That night, Stoops said Browns president Carmen Policy had been trying to reach him for two days.

"But my cell phone went dead for two days and I just got it working again and got my messages," Stoops told the Tulsa World. "I don't know if that (job opening) is why Carmen Policy has been trying to call me, or if he just wanted to offer congratulations on winning the national championship."

But Stoops declined to say Saturday whether he had been contacted by the Browns.

"I'm not getting into any of that," he said during a news conference. "That's something that's personal and whether I did or not or whether I will ever or have I doesn't need to be discussed or hashed around anymore.

"In my life right now, I'm fortunate to be the head football coach here. Hopefully they'll have me here for quite a while. I plan on that. Life's never certain of anything, but right now I believe I have the best football job in the country and that means college or pros."

University president David Boren said he is "pleased that Bob Stoops has reaffirmed his clear decision to stay ay OU."

Stoops, 40, had said he was intrigued by the prospect of coaching a professional team but would not say whether he had to decide between the coaching jobs.

"That's not fair to them or me to get into particulars about any of it," he said. "A lot of things intrigue me. Coaching high school intrigues me ... I don't think you ever say never to anything. That's a long time and you never know from year to year what your life brings you or what you want out of it."

Stoops, wh grew up rooting for the Browns, and Policy share a background.

Both are from Youngstown, Ohio, and have known each other for several years. One of Policy's sons played for Stoops' late father, Ron Stoops Sr., at Cardinal Mooney High School.

Stoops said the interest expressed by the Browns and earlier by Ohio State University has not affected his staff's recruiting efforts.

"In fact, it enhances it," he said. "I think all those recruits, they recognize when that happens and particularly if the NFL's calling, that this staff is really a quality staff. It only hurts it if you leave, and I don't intend to do that."

Stoops recently received a five-year extension on his contract at Oklahoma, and a raise to $1.4 million a season.

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