OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Even with all the games and championships he won, Barry Switzer thinks Bob Stoops will eventually end up with a more impressive career.
"Bob will someday break my record because he's a smart enough guy to know that you don't leave Oklahoma when you have Oklahoma," Switzer said Tuesday night while accepting a community service award from the Knights of Columbus. "There's no pro job out there worth a damn."
Switzer went 157-29-4 with the Sooners, winning national titles in 1974, 1975 and 1985 before resigning under pressure 20 years ago. He went on to win a Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys, but still lives near the Oklahoma campus in Norman.
But while being honored for his involvement with Special Olympics Oklahoma over the past 36 years, Switzer turned his remarks toward Stoops — with whom he'd shared a hug and a handshake earlier in the ceremony.
"You are the right guy to do it. I mean that, Bob," said Switzer, who has the school's best winning percentage at .837. "I wouldn't want anyone else to even come close to it other than you. You're the guy."
Stoops is 109-24 in 10 seasons at Oklahoma. He won the national championship following the 2000 season, but has lost in three other championship matchups including last season's fall to Florida.
"The legacy he's left, it's so strong and I'm the beneficiary of it right now," Stoops said of his predecessor. "What he's built, the tradition and the history here, there's so many other people that are a part of it. But coach Switzer undeniably is as strong a figure as there's been at this university."
With his wishbone offense, Switzer guided the Sooners back to the top of the college football world almost immediately after taking over for his former boss, Chuck Fairbanks, in 1973. Similarly, Stoops won the national championship in his second season at Oklahoma.
"I'm very fortunate to be able to have a school like Oklahoma to be the head coach of when the time came," Switzer said. "When Chuck left and I had the job, I was the luckiest guy in the world because I was at a school that had the opportunity to try for the players that Bob Stoops has the opportunity to try for today."
Switzer saluted several of those former players, including 1978 Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims, who attended the awards dinner at The Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Switzer also gave the players a private greeting before the ceremony began.
The Knights of Columbus gave Switzer their John F. Kennedy Community Service Award for his work with Special Olympics.
"If you've ever been around a Special Olympian, you see nothing but innocence. They do not know manipulative, devious, deception — they do not know any of those intangibles," Switzer said. "All they want is to be touched, encouraged, loved and hugged, and they want to give back the same."
Switzer said he enjoys seeing Special Olympics competitors leave feeling better about themselves, whether they win or lose.
"It's just been an experience that I've had more passion for than really any charity — and all of them are important — but it's been one that I've stayed with, obviously, and given more of my time to," Switzer said. "I've been involved in many. Special Olympics is special."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.
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