Oklahoma loses Venables' big picture man in Turnipseed

by:Carey Murdock06/29/23

When Brent Venables left his defensive coordinator job at Clemson and took over as Oklahoma football’s 23rd head coach in December of 2021, everyone was interested in his vision for the Sooners’ future.

Not only Venables’ vision, but also his right-hand man, Thad Turnipseed

“Building the program the right way, helping us on the transition – we’re in the middle of that transition and it’s going really, really well,” said Venables of Turnipseed’s role back in the spring of 2022. “But he knows the things to avoid, the things to look out for and the things we absolutely have to have to be successful on the field, off the field.”

After all that was said, Turnipseed is out at the University of Oklahoma. The former Executive Director of Football Administration is no longer.

“Thad Turnipseed is no longer employed at the university. He has notified Coach Venables that he intends to spend more time with his family,” the official told SoonerScoop.com.

The news comes just months after the university’s Board of Regents unanimously approved the $175 million Football Operations Facility. In addition, It is a facility expected to have similar aspects to the one Clemson completed with Turnipseed’s input.

The university already voted to hire the HOK architectural firm out of Kansas City back in 2022.

Turnipseed seen as a visionary for Oklahoma future

It was always expected this project was one of the biggest reasons Venables brought Turnipseed with him to Oklahoma. Turnipseed had lofty goals and aspirations in Norman.

“Right now, my focus is building the greatest dynasty in the history of college football,” Turnipseed told SoonerScoop’s Bob Przybylo back in March of 2022. “I think with Brent, the tools we have here, get that alignment, we can be the new Alabama.”

Although Turnipseed’s departure is curious, it should be noted he was originally awarded a two-year contract paying $350K per year. As a matter of fact, he still has at least six months remaining on his deal.

Another source close to the situation portrayed the departure as a resignation. And reactions to Turnipseed inside the football offices have been mixed according to conversations we have had with numerous university sources.

“We do a wonderful job, Sooner Club does an awesome job. But he’s been a part of building a couple of other programs and doing it the right way and has that very unique background in construction and administration and the coaching side of it as well,” Venables said back in March of 2022. “Great deal of wisdom that I tap into every day.”

Sooners moves on without Turnipseed

Oklahoma has a strong Director of Athletics in Joe Castilgione, who clearly has a strong vision of his own, we were always curious how these two would co-exist.

All in all, the Football Operations Facility is still going to be built. The architects have submitted their plans. The money will continue to be raised.

It just won’t be Thad Turnipseed wearing a hard hat and directing traffic.

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