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"I did not have goals set out, by this time I want to do this, this, this and this," Meyer said. "I wanted to coach football, and I knew that at a very early age."
Stoops' father was a teacher and defensive coordinator at Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Ohio, for 28 years. Ron Stoops died of a heart attack in 1988 on the sideline during a game. He was 54.
"You know my Dad died young, so I can't say that he gave me any real particular direct advice as far as coaching. But I took his example, I believe, as a man, as a father, as a husband, in how you live, in not letting wins and loses, not letting the game define you and what really matters in life," Bob Stoops said.
In the football world, Stoops is defined by winning.
He is 109-23 (.826) in his 10 years at Oklahoma. If the Sooners beat Florida, Stoops will move ahead of Meyer and have the second-best winning percentage among active major college coaches. Southern California's Pete Carroll is tops at .854.
A victory against Meyer would also restore some of the luster that's come off Stoops' reputation recently. He was dubbed Big Game Bob early in his career for winning his first two BCS bowls and dominating the rivalry with Texas.
After losing his last two trips to the BCS title game, and four consecutive BCS bowls overall, even some Sooners fans have wondered if Stoops has lost his magic touch.
Meyer is now where Stoops was before the BCS losses. Another title would put Meyer and Florida on equal -- or very close to equal -- footing with USC, the current gold standard in the sport.
Carroll is one of 16 coaches to win at least two Associated Press national titles, along with Bowden and Paterno. Alabama great Paul "Bear" Bryant has the most with five.
Either Meyer or Stoops can become the 17th, and first to win two BCS titles.
"Well, it's very humbling when you start thinking of all the great head coaches out there and all the great staffs," Meyer said about the potential milestone. "Other than that, I just worry about third down and 6 and make sure our punt team is ready to go."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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