Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Stoops brothers give back to area at Camp of Champions

By JOHN VARGO Tribune Chronicle

July 1, 2009

From left, brothers Ron and Bob Stoops talk with Cardinal Mooney athletic director Don Bucci on Monday at Cardinal Mooney's Camp of Champions.

YOUNGSTOWN - Bob Stoops' gait wasn't that fast Monday. He took the time to enjoy the sights and talk to a few friends.

As he approached the Cardinal Mooney High School football practice field, it reminded him that he's a long ways from Oklahoma University.

"I love being back in the Valley seeing family and friends," said the Sooners football coach, who is heading into his 11th season in Norman, Okla. "There's nothing like it - seeing young kids coming out playing football and around Cardinal Mooney."

Bob, Ron and Mark Stoops, all Cardinal Mooney graduates, were at the Cardinals' Camp of Champions, which ended Tuesday.

"It's one big happy family and we enjoy spending some time with each other," said Mark, the defensive coordinator for his brother, Mike, at the University of Arizona.

You could say it's a vacation for Bob and Mark to return back home, but there's a lot of people demanding their time. Ron said their families go to the beach to get away.

"Here, we get spread thin with everybody else," said Ron, a Cardinal Mooney assistant coach.

This week, it was about guiding those young campers.

"You can see the kids are eager and they want to learn," Mark said. "They took the time to come here to camp. So, you want them to take something away to improve a little bit or work a little harder and also have some fun."

Arizona went 8-5 last season and Mark said he's looking forward to the upcoming campaign.

"We feel we have a good team coming in and excited about another year," he said.

Bob's Oklahoma team advanced to the BCS title game but lost to Florida. It was a successful season for the Sooners, nonetheless. He feels Oklahoma football can bring plenty of excitement to those in Norman.

"It's exciting. You wish you could be one game better," Bob said. "That's how it goes though. I'm proud of our players. They played hard throughout the year. Even though the championship game, they had a few more plays than we did and that's how it goes sometimes.

"Still, I'm proud of our players and people in our program to have gotten to that point. Hopefully, we'll get over the top."

Ron, on the other hand, is happy that Bob, one of the nation's high-profile coaches, can find time to come back to the Camp of Champions each year.

"Bob has been fantastic, so helpful to us," Ron said. "I really can't put it into words. I can't say enough to what he's doing, the commitment to the school and the program. He's been extremely generous with his time and resources. He's been a great brother and a great friend. He's been a great supporter for this community."

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