The new OU band director is turning into Howard Schnellenberger…
2:39 PM EDT on October 15, 2013
Things continue to get worse for Justin Stolarik, the embattled director of the Pride of Oklahoma marching band. In a way, I guess you can say he's become the band version of Howard Schnellenberger. If you are lucky enough to be too young to remember – or like other OU fans, drank a lot in 1995 – Schnellenberger coached the Sooners for one awful and forgettable 5-5-1 season in the mid-1990s.
The comparison makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
• Much to the chagrin of those associated with the program, Stolarik was seemingly handpicked by David Boren over other more qualified candidates. In all fairness, I don't think OU had a plethora of quality people asking for either job. According to this article, the other people being considered for the OU gig in 1995 were Glen Mason and Watson Brown. I don't know much about marching band hires, but it's not like the Pride was targeting some guy from A&M or Grambling. In my opinion, they should have hired the person from Rice. Their halftime shows are always entertaining.
• Stolarik has implemented practices and traditions from his previous employer into the OU program. This has been well documented, but many of the new elements from the Pride of Oklahoma pre-game were copied directly from Wisconsin. Schnellie did the same thing when he peppered OU with minor traditions from Louisville. He added stripes to the sleeves of uniforms (see above), implemented a cheesy pre-game walk to the stadium and made people wish it was already basketball season.
• Stolarik has not been accepted by alumni or students. The only people who welcomed Schnellenberger to Norman were liquor store owners, tobacco pipe makers and opposing Big 8 coaches. Stolarik's not even that popular. In fact, I kind of feel sorry for the guy. Since he's been named band director, the tuba players have gone on strike, the Facebook group "Restore the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band" has attained nearly 7,000 likes, and a billboard calling for his ouster has received significant attention.
• Marching band members are not being provided with enough drinking water. This is the newest one. According to KOCO.com, students and alumni are claiming that Stolarik didn't provide enough water to band members at Saturday's OU - Texas game. If you remember correctly, Schnellenberger nearly killed a player by not allowing water breaks during practice. Here's a report on the claims from KOCO Channel 5:
Sorry, that's a video of Jessica Schambach and Paul Folger jump roping. Despite the fact they make money from the ads shown before a video plays, KOCO doesn't allow other sites to embed their news clips. Oh well, I doubt anyone is too disappointed by the replacement.
According to the KOCO report, members of the "Restore the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band" claim there was a water shortage at the Red River Rivalry. Before you do what I did and roll your eyes and say something like "Uhm, it's freakin' October," check out this report from NBCDFW 5:
For some watching the Texas Longhorns defeat the Oklahoma Sooners, the weather was the opponent to beat.
During the game, temperatures soared into the 90's and the humidity made it feel closer to triple digits. That caused health problems for some of the 92,000 plus fans in attendance at The Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
NBC 5 photojournalist Patric Alva took video and pictures from inside The Cotton Bowl as paramedics rushed to assist people overcome by the heat. One picture also showed a woman needing an IV to re-hydrate during the game.
Officials with the State Fair of Texas said medics attended to several people but that was not an unusually high number of people needing assistance. They also said that they didn't hear of anyone needing to be transported to the hospital.
Contrary to that report, we did hear of one person needing hospitalization. According to this Facebook post, the Pride of Oklahoma drum major was hospitalized. And no, it wasn't because he hurt his hamstring doing that funny march:
That's scary, although it does possibly explain why Josh Heupel decided not to call any running plays. Maybe he just wanted the band to rest and not play Boomer Sooner. If there's a football coach out there who probably watches the band play during the game to see if they are exhausted, odds are it's Josh Huepel.
Anyway, you know how I listed all the similarities between Schnellenberger and Stolarik? Well, there's probably one more we'll have to add to the list very soon. That will likely be "They both only lasted one football season." Seriously, I can't see Stolarik staying at OU much longer. It's not that everything is his fault – I think a lot of this is being blown out of proportion by whiney band nerds and alumni – but it's obvious the marriage isn't working, and someone needs to call it quits. Since the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band isn't going anywhere, that means Stolarik probably needs to pack his bags and go. When he does, make sure he takes a couple of bottles of water (and the stupid Wisconsin pre-game formation) with him.
p.s. - After some complaining, KOCO sent me an embed code for the video: