Oklahoma fires defensive coordinator Stoops

Oklahoma Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops before the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium on Nov. 4.Photo: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

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Ruffin McNeill, who had been the Sooners’ assistant head coach and defensive tackles coach, will serve as the defensive coordinator for the remainder of the season. Defensive specialist Bob Diaco will take on the role of outside linebackers coach.

“I have great respect for Mike,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said in a statement. “He’s a quality football coach, great man and a close friend. It became time for a change in our program and that happens sometimes in football, but we cannot lose sight of the accomplishments Mike had at Oklahoma. He was responsible for a lot of success and deserves the gratitude of everyone associated with Sooner football, not only for his role in the winning, but for coaching with integrity.”

Stoops had two different stints as the Sooners’ defensive coordinator, with the first coming from 1999-2003. He returned to Oklahoma in 2012 after an eight-year stint as Arizona head coach.

The Sooners surrendered 33 points in the victory over Baylor two weeks ago and then 48 — and 501 total yards — in their first loss of the season to the Longhorns.

“I’m extremely disappointed in my ability to get this team to play at a higher level. It takes everybody pulling the same way,” Stoops said Saturday. “Certainly, I take a lot of that responsibility. That’s for sure.”

McNeil has served as the defensive coordinator with UNLV, Fresno State and Texas Tech. Diaco is also a former defensive coordinator at Cincinnati, Notre Dame and Nebraska.

“Ruffin has an impressive resume,” Riley said. “That’s why I wanted him on our staff in the first place. I have confidence in his knowledge and leadership.

“Bob has a lot of experience in very good programs and also has a list of accomplishments that will help him step in and make an immediate impact. We are fortunate to have these men in our program. They’ll be ready to get to work in new roles right away.”