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Stoops squaring off with former pupil Sumlin in Cotton Bowl

Kevin Sumlin

Bob Stoops will match wits with one of his former lieutenants in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 4, but it’s not the first time he’s encountered one of his former assistants.

Kevin Sumlin is in his first season as Texas A&M’s head coach after spending four years as head coach for the Houston Cougars. Sumlin, who served as a Sooners assistant from 2003 to 2007, might be the best former assistant from Stoops’ coaching tree.

In four years at Houston, Sumlin compiled a 35-17 record. He twice led Houston to the Conference-USA Championship Game, capturing the title in 2011. When the Texas A&M job came open, Sumlin jumped at the chance, since he formerly coached there as an assistant a couple of years before his OU tenure. He has led the Aggies to a 10-2 record this year, which includes a stunning upset over Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

So far, Stoops has done well matching wits with three of his former assistants—Mark Mangino at Kansas, Bo Pelini at Nebraska and Mike Leach at Texas Tech—going 13-4 against the trio.

Mark Mangino

Mangino, OU’s offensive line coach and coordinator from 1999-2001, turned the Jayhawks into a Big 12 contender with a 50-48 record in seven years. In 2007, he led KU to a 12-1 season, including an upset win over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl that culminated in a No. 7 ranking in both polls. Mangino swept all coaching awards that year. He never defeated his former boss, dropping four meetings (2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009).

Stoops is 2-1 against Pelini. The Sooners defeated Nebraska in 2008, lost in 2009 and won the Big 12 championship with a victory in 2010. Pelini served as OU’s co-defensive coordinator for just one season (2004). He moved on to serve as LSU’s defensive coordinator before taking the Nebraska head job in 2008. Pelini has compiled a 49-19 record at NU, which includes a one-game stint in the 2003 Alamo Bowl after the Huskers fired Frank Solich.

Mike Leach, another Stoops assistant, coached at Texas Tech for 10 years after serving one season as offensive coordinator at OU in 1999. Leach got the best of Stoops only three times (2005, 2007 and 2009).

Stoops never squared off against Chuck Long during his three years at San Diego State, yet Long served as offensive coordinator at Kansas in 2010 and 2011. OU blew out the Jayhawks both years.

Kevin Wilson, Indiana’s current head coach and former Sooner assistant from 2002 to 2010, has yet to meet up with his former boss. And Bob Stoops never had the pleasure of matching wits with another former assistant—his brother, Mike, who coached at Arizona for seven years before returning as OU’s defensive coordinator this year.