The offseason conditioning program has been a staple of OU’s program for all 15 of Stoops’ seasons as head coach. But it was strictly run by the strength and conditioning coaches. Football coaches, including Stoops, could not interact or observe the workouts.
The NCAA amended the rule for basketball coaches last year. What OU men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger noticed was the practice time wasn’t necessarily immensely beneficial to players on the court. But the relationship with the coaching staff improved.
“You’re around them two or three times a week in a way you wouldn’t be otherwise just in conversation and checking on how things are going on campus and back home,” he said. “Just the opportunity to see them more frequently is as much of a bonus as the basketball part of it is.”
OU women’s coach Sherri Coale is looking forward to that beginning this week. She spent much of last summer coaching Team USA in the World University Games in Russia.
Coale has signed five freshmen for this coming season’s team. This an opportunity to build a relationship with them that otherwise would’ve had to wait until the fall semester.
“You get to know kids in a way that’s a little less intimidating than just sitting in an office and having a conversation,” she said. “You get to develop a relationship.”
Stoops wants to use that additional time in the same manner. He wants to be in the weight room when his guys are working out to encourage. Stoops also wants to be there when discipline is needed.
“I was out there a couple of years ago to run three or four guys for missing multiple classes and was told I’m not allowed to,” he said. “… I wanted to head that off by giving them some punishment by running, but found out I’m not allowed to do that. So now, because of class issues and things like that, I can be there. I can say ‘wait a minute, you’ve missed two classes this week, what’s going on?’ All right, if you’d rather do some running rather than go to class … those kinds of things seem to be common sense. But they haven’t been.”