How former university dean Clarke Stroud landed on the Sooner sidelines as director of operations |

It was recently announced that Clarke Stroud was stepping down from his position as Oklahoma University’s vice president of student affairs and taking on a new challenge as the director of operations for Sooner Football. The Norman Trascript recently published a great feature on Stroud, talking about his transition.

There’s a running joke about how the shoes, bow ties, blazers and other vibrant clothes on Clarke Stroud’s side of the bedroom closet far outnumber those of his wife, Robin.

“And it’s actually true,” Stroud admits as a grin slides under his nose. He is sunken into a leather couch inside a lounge near Oklahoma’s football offices, peering through dark-rimmed glasses, wearing two silver rings, dark jeans, a white shirt under an unstructured sport coat and, literally, blue suede shoes.

For nearly the last two decades as OU’s vice president of student affairs and dean of students, only Stroud’s extroverted personality out-shined his wardrobe. Now, an important question emerges.

How will tennis shoes and a coaching polo suit him?

On July 1, Stroud’s tenure as a high-profile administrator supporting OU’s academic mission officially ended, and he began working as director of football operations for the athletic department. He moved out of his second-floor office in the student union’s southwest corner, a comfortable nook where he began reporting directly to the school president at age 32. In 18 years, he never bothered to replace the couch or desk.

Now 50, he occupies a job unfamiliar to him, one that exists not in the university’s hallways and boardrooms, but on the sideline of Owen Field. He’s the new guy for the first time in nearly two decades, without a massive staff to instruct. Instead he’ll be a cog — though a critical one — in a machine with many moving pieces.

“I had a really hard job before, in terms of the kinds of demands emotionally, physically that that job put on me,” Stroud said. “But I also did it for 18 years, so I had a routine. I knew what to do, I didn’t have to think about it. Even for some of the hardest situations I knew what to do. I’m kind of having to retrain myself here. … I have to readjust and figure out where my lane is.

“I don’t really know where my lane is, yet.”

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