From Left: Bud Wilkinson, Bob Stoops, and Barry Switzer. Source: Norman Transcript

Alphabet and Numbers Should Determine Oklahoma’s Next Head Football Coach

Penn Little
4 min readNov 29, 2021


ESPN color-analyst Kirk Herbstreit said, “that’s where you usually see (defensive) pass interference” following the third to last offensive play of the Oklahoma Sooners’ final regular-season game. If the zebras had thrown a flag or if Oklahoma receiver Travon West had caught the pass — Norman, Oklahoma would be a much less anxious place today, as students returned Sunday following the Thanksgiving holiday.

However, Oklahoma lost the annual Bedlam rivalry to Oklahoma State this past Saturday night. Hours later, Sooner nation was shocked again by the Steinbeckian exit of their dynamic young (now-former) head coach: Lincoln Riley, to the University of Southern California.

The search has begun, and statistics suggest that Oklahoma Athletic Director Joe Castiglione made the right decision tapping Bob Stoops (Riley’s hall-of-fame predecessor) as interim head coach.

Stoops is evidence that when Oklahoma selects a Coach with a first name starting with the letter “B,” whom has served as head coach at no other school than Oklahoma and was an assistant before hiring: the chances of winning are astoundingly higher.

Oklahoma has had 22 head coaches. Since 1894, Oklahoma’s first season competing on the gridiron, the program boasts a 70.32% winning percentage.

Of the 22, five of those coach’s first names (given or used) start with “B,” Bennie Owen, Biff Jones, Bud Wilkinson, Barry Switzer, and Bob Stoops. The combined winning percentage of those five: 76.35%.

The combined winning percentage of the 17 (including Riley) who did not have a first name starting with “B” is 60.08%.

If you recognize the modern era (which encompassses all seasons since World War II: 1946-present), all coaches at Oklahoma whose first name didn’t start with “B” hold a combined 64.26% winning percentage.

In that same era, Oklahoma has employed three head coaches whose names begin with “B.” These three (Wilkinson, Switzer, and Stoops) led the Sooners out of the tunnel in 46.35% of Oklahoma’s 1297 games since 1894. The trio also accounted for all seven of the school’s national championships. The three “Killer B’s” hold a combined winning percentage of an astounding…



Penn Little

Entrepreneur & Investigative Journalist | Story Tips: Email your name, phone, and 2 paragraph summary.