The University of Oklahoma is re-investing in its resources in a major way.
The college’s Board of Regents decided Wednesday to approve a $370 million upgrade to its famed stadium while also approving a raise for its top football coach, according to a school press release.
Money for the Memorial
Oklahoma Memorial Stadium will add an entire cluster of seating in the stadium’s southern bowl, which is now open-air. The conceptual plan projects an additional 43 restrooms and 69 extra concession shops
There will also be an additional 50,000 square feet of space for student-athlete facilities, such as an expanded weight room.
Stoops Pay Day
Also, the Board of Regents approved a raise for head football coach Bob Stoops. His salary was bumped to $39.9 million over seven years, making him one of the few coaches in the nation to make more than $5 million per year.
Before that, Stoops was set to make $4.95 million.
The stadium and the coach are well-deserving of the funding increases.
The Prairie on the Stadium has seen 90 years of football played on its turf, with extensive renovations from 2002 to 2004 which modernized it. The stadium’s south end was left open for two reasons. Firstly, access to the three practice facilities would have been blocked, and secondly, the baseball field would have been forced to shorten its left field considerably with any major addition.
It currently fits 82,000 people, as opposed to 16,000 when it began in 1923.
During that time, the Sooners have been one of the most successful football programs, winning seven national championships, 44 conference championships and boasting 154 All-American players.
Stoops was responsible for much of their recent success. He came to the program in 1999 and proceeded to win a national championship in his second year on the job.
The 15-year coach has compiled a 160-39 (.804) record and also coached his team to a national championship game in 2009, which it lost 24-14 to Florida.
Oklahoma finished 11-2 last season, defeating Alabama 45-31 with an upset win in the Sugar Bowl.
Investing in the Future
With continued confidence in their coach and their stadium, the future looks bright for the Sooners.
The Board of Regents made a number of other decisions Wednesday, including increasing the salaries of some of its other successful coaches. OU basketball coach Lon Krueger got a six-year, $17 million deal, after leading the Sooners to two successive NCAA tournaments.
Women’s basketball coach Sherri Coale will receiver a raise, in the form of a seven-year deal for $8.96 million.
Finally, OU assistants received raises. Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops will make $850,000 this year, while offensive coordinator Josh Heupel will make $605,000.
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