It's not often you see a college head coach visiting another school's campus, but Bob Stoops made an exception this week as he visited Michigan State.
The Oklahoma head coach was visiting Monday and Tuesday to spend time with Spartans head coach and longtime friend Mark Dantonio. Their friendship dates back to their days as graduate assistants at Iowa (Stoops from 1983–84) and Ohio State (Dantonio from 1983–84), which continued during their rise through the coaching ranks.
"Bobby and I have known each other for 30-plus years, so he's been telling me he's going to come for a while, and I've been out there, so he came in last night and it was just great to see him," said Dantonio, via mlive.com. "As a football coach, you have certain friends you just like to talk football with, and it's been great having him here today.
"He's done an unbelievable job, and I asked him who has the longest tenure in the country, and it's him, he's been there I think 17 or going on 18 years, and he's the winningest coach in OU history so, he's done some outstanding things."
Now, Stoops has a built a powerhouse with his the Sooners in the Big 12, while Dantonio has done the same with his Spartans in the Big Ten. It's not even these two conferences see their perennial teams match up, but that happens this year when the Sooners and Buckeyes meet on Sept. 17 in Norman.
The good news for Stoops is he has a long time still to study and prepare for Ohio State later this summer, so the focus of this trip was not on the Buckeyes.
"Not really," Stoops said. "It’s been more just watching their practice and comparing the way we practice and wanted to see their pace of practice and that kinda thing. It’s been more about our practice methods and those kinda things... at a later date, but we've got all summer to continue to watch."
Instead, the focus of the trip to East Lansing was for Stoops to catch up with his old friend.
"Mark and I have been friends way back to when we were graduate assistants, he was an Ohio State G.A., I was a grad assistant at Iowa probably around 1984," Stoops said. "We got to hanging out with each other after a game and then went down to the convention together.
"Since then we've been meeting at conventions together, and we were friends when he was at Youngstown State — that's where I'm from, and our wives and he and I would get together and go out and have some fun together. It's been a friendship for over 30 years.
"I've got great respect for the way Mark coaches and all of his coaches and great respect for the program, and the way they've won. It's just fun to share ideas. I wanted to see their practice, and you compare notes to how you're practicing and some things you can do better. It's been a very productive couple of days for me."
Stoops also watched the Spring Draft and stuck around for a few practices. One of the big talking points in college football recently has been satellite camps being banned, which Dantonio was strongly against. Stoops is also very much against this ruling as it takes away chances for young athletes to showcase themselves to recruiters.
"Yeah, I think it's unfortunate for the young student athletes in high school, maybe a lot of them don't have the means to go somewhere, to go to somebody's camp, so I'd like to see it revisited with some restrictions, of course," Stoops said. "Rather than everyone going wild with it let's get something reasonable for everybody, so you can help the young men that can't get somewhere."