NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma's Barry Switzer, the fourth most successful coach in the history of college football, resigned today just months after his program was tainted by NCAA probation and criminal charges against some players.
Switzer said at a news conference today that he was stepping down effective immediately.
A source close to the Oklahoma football program told the Associated Press earlier that Switzer met with the football staff this morning and told them of his decision.
'Drained' by Experiences
The source said that Switzer was "drained by things he's gone through in the last few months," a reference to the NCAA probation imposed on the school's football program in December and three separate criminal incidents that led to charges against Oklahoma players earlier this year.
The source said that Switzer was concerned that he no longer had the "energy and enthusiasm" to give to the program.
The source said a leading candidate to replace Switzer was defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs and that a replacement could be named as early as Tuesday.
Switzer has had the top winning percentage among major-college football coaches since 1982. His teams won three national championships and 12 Big Eight Conference championships in his 16 seasons as head coach.
Switzer had been under fire for more than six months, since before the Sooners were placed on a three-year NCAA probation in December. Switzer was named in four of the 20 violations, but denied knowledge of breaking any NCAA rules. He was not penalized by the university.
Switzer already had faced controversy when former Sooner linebacker Brian Bosworth wrote a book, which came out last August, saying players used cocaine and fired guns at the dormitory. Bosworth, who left the team after the 1986 season, also referred to NCAA violations and said the Oklahoma football program bordered on anarchy.
At the time, Switzer called Bosworth's claims sensationalism.
The state's largest newspapers called for Switzer's resignation after five of his players were charged with felonies earlier this year.
One player was charged with wounding another player in a dormitory shooting incident. Three players were charged with first-degree rape in an alleged dormitory assault on an Oklahoma City woman. And quarterback Charles Thompson was charged in federal court with cocaine possession.
Switzer has an .844 winning percentage, with 157 victories, 26 losses and four ties.