Central Michigan fired its football coach, John Bonamego, on Friday after a 1-11 season, the worst in school history.
The Central Michigan athletic director is Mike Alford, who last November was hired away from OU after five years, the last four as senior associated AD.
The Detroit News listed possible candidates to replace Bonamego and included long-time OU assistant coach Cale Gundy, citing the ties to Alford.
But here’s another candidate: Mike Stoops.
Stoops famously was fired in October after 6-1/2 years in his second go-round as OU’s defensive coordinator. Since then, of course, the Sooner defense has gotten worse instead of better, and while Stoops is responsible for OU’s defensive decline in recent years, it’s also possible he had his finger in the dike, keeping the Sooners as competitive as they were.
The Stoops name still carries weight in college football, and that goes in the upper Midwest. Stoops grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, and played football at the University of Iowa.
In 7-1/2 years as head coach at Arizona, Stoops had a record of 41-50, which is in line with what most UofA coaches have done over the years.
Stoops said he hasn’t been contacted by Central Michigan and isn’t sure of his plans. In the days after his firing, he talked about perhaps resurfacing in the NFL. But the Mid-American Conference is good football, with lots of good coaches, and it’s a great place for a coach to build back his reputation. For example, Frank Solich was fired as head coach at Nebraska despite a 58-19 record. A year later, he was hired as head coach at Ohio University and remains on the job, with a record of 105-75 in 14 years.