The Simple Life

Affecting story in the Los Angeles Times about the Stoops brother who remained in Youngstown — The Simple Life.

Driving along gray streets at dusk, streets where he grew up, Ron Stoops Jr. says Youngstown has been down on its luck since the steel mills closed. He gives a wisp of a smile to the next question, the one people always ask.

Why does he stay? It makes no sense in a culture that prizes bigger and better, richer and glitzier.

People compare him to his younger brothers. They see Bob Stoops coaching Oklahoma, earning millions of dollars, guiding his team into the BCS national championship game against Louisiana State at the Sugar Bowl tonight. They see Mike taking over at Arizona and hiring Mark, the youngest, as his defensive coordinator.

That makes Ron Jr. the forgotten man in college football’s best-known brother act.

Not that he doesn’t love the game. Any male born into the Stoops family seems genetically coded to live and breathe football. They look like coaches, with close-cropped hair and a certain intensity around the eyes.

“When you think about it,” Ron Jr. says, “that’s what we were destined to do.”