Notre Dame's top candidate for football coach does not appear to be interested in the job.
Oklahoma Sooners coach Bob Stoops was on the Irish wishlist, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. But on Saturday, Stoops -- who on Monday had said specifically that he would be coaching the Sooners next season -- reiterated in a lengthy statement that he would remain at Oklahoma.
"For the third, and hopefully final time, let me again state that I will continue to be the coach at Oklahoma," Stoops said. "I appreciate the history and tradition of Notre Dame. I also appreciate the history and tradition of Oklahoma, and I have been part of building that tradition here."
Earlier Saturday the Sun-Times had reported Stoops could be named coach as soon as Sunday. He said it isn't happening.
"I work for a wonderful president [David Boren] and athletic director [Joe Castiglione], who have created an incredible work environment at OU," Stoops said. "There haven't been any plans for a meeting or negotiations with Notre Dame and there will not be. Any reporting to that fact is completely erroneous. I will not be the next coach at Notre Dame."
However, according to multiple sources, Stoops hasn't specifically told Notre Dame "no," the Sun-Times reported.
The newspaper also reported that the Irish already had a contract offer for Stoops, according to a source.
Yet another source said Stoops has been contacting previous Notre Dame coaches to get a handle on the program.
The Tulsa World, sending a text message to Stoops asking about the Sun-Times report, got the response: "Again, wrong."
University sources told the World the reason for Stoops' hesitation of publicly saying an outright
"no" to Notre Dame: He did not want to throw "Notre Dame under the bus."
If he publicly rejects the Irish, some would surmise the eventual coach was not Notre Dame's first choice.
"And he [Stoops] isn't going to do that to any school," a university source told the World.
When an Internet report Monday night suggested Stoops had agreed to terms with Notre Dame, he followed up with a written statement issued through the university: "I stand by the comments that I made earlier today. I will be at Oklahoma. Any reporting to the contrary is completely unfounded."
Stoops is under contract with Oklahoma through the end of 2015 after agreeing to a two-year extension earlier this year. That deal, loaded with incentives aimed at keeping him with the Sooners, is one of the richest in college football and would pay him more than $30 million -- or about $4.3 million annually -- if he were to stay for the full term.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.