The University of Oklahoma announced today it is recommending that defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs replace Barry Switzer, who resigned Monday as football coach at Oklahoma.
"Gary Gibbs is one of the outstanding young coaches in the country today," Interim President David Swank said. "He understands the need to succeed in the football program and on the field.The university's regents will vote on the recommendation Wednesday.
Saying there was "too much water under the bridge," Switzer announced Monday he was walking away from the football program he guided to three national championships.
"I finally decided the time has come for new leadership," Switzer said.
"I received a great football program 16 years ago. I'm passing on a great football program."
In leaving after 16 years as Sooners coach, Switzer said he was frustrated by NCAA rules that do not "recognize the financial needs of young athletes."
Gibbs has been with the Sooners since 1975 and has been defensive coordinator since 1981.
Switzer said Monday he had asked that his successor come from the staff.
"I wanted that consideration, that we retain a winning staff and proven staff, that one of those lead and direct this program at the energy levels that I do not have today," he said.
Switzer had been under pressure since the school's football program was placed on three years' probation by the NCAA in December and after several players were charged early this year with crimes involving drugs, guns and sexual assault.
But Switzer had served notice he planned to remain as coach and talk of his leaving ebbed by the end of spring practice. His resignation caught some former and current players, as well as others in the coaching ranks, off guard.
"It came as a complete surprise," said Eddie Foster, an offensive lineman during Switzer's first year as head coach. "After the things that happened in the spring had cooled down, I thought Coach Switzer had put them behind him and would be here this fall."
"I will never coach at another institution. I will never coach at another college level. I promise you that," Switzer said.
He noted his record at Oklahoma and said "anything depletes and detracts from that anywhere I go."
"It's no fun anymore. I'm drained. I don't have the energy level to compete in this arena today," the 52-year-old Switzer said.
Switzer has had the top winning percentage among major college football coaches since 1982 and he has the fourth-highest winning percentage of all time. His teams won three national championships and 12 Big Eight Conference championships in 16 seasons.
Switzer said at one point he would be associated with football in the future and did not rule out the possibility of coaching in the professional ranks.
For the time being, Switzer said he would accept a special assignment with the Oklahoma athletic department. Neither athletic director Donnie Duncan nor Switzer would say what the new duties would be.
"I want this resignation to stand for something and I want it to serve as a public commitment on my part to join with other coaches around the country who are calling for changes in rules to permit universities to provide players with reasonable assistance, perhaps based on financial need as proposed by Dick Schultz, executive director of the NCAA," Switzer said.
"The time has come to change a system where coaches must choose between abiding by certain rules or acting like caring individuals. We made the rules and we can change them."
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