Big 12: Toby Rowland

Brent Venables called the decision to leave Oklahoma for Clemson a "really difficult" one full one of "pros and cons" in an emotional interview Thursday morning on KREF Sports Talk 1400 with OU play-by-play radio voice Toby Rowland.

"I've been happy at Oklahoma," Venables said. "But I felt deep down this was the right thing for me to do at the right time."

Venables said he was excited about the team the Sooners had returning next season, and actually was "really happy" about the chance to work with Mike Stoops as co-defensive coordinators again. But Venables said the opportunity to improve his chances of one day becoming a head coach prompted him to make the move.

"I've got a fabulous relationship with Mike Stoops and felt together we are better," Venables said. "I thought really we could rekindle the old magic if you will and was really looking forward to that.

"But it was time to make a move. This could be an opportunity for me down the road to become a head coach as well."

Venables had been an Oklahoma assistant under Bob Stoops since 1999. All four of his children were born in Norman. Underscoring the difficulty of the decision, Venables broke up at the end of the interview talking about how special Oklahoma and Norman has been to he and his family.

"All my children are Normanites," he said before a long pause. "This will always be great memories. Believe it or not I'll still call this home."

Sooners find their new voice

March, 23, 2011
Oklahoma has found its new play-by-play voice.

On Tuesday, the school named Toby Rowland as radio announcer for the program's football and basketball programs.

Rowland has served as the sideline reporter for football the past two seasons.

"Toby’s spirit and enthusiasm for Oklahoma represent the standard of what we appreciate in an announcer; a standard that was established by men like Bob Barry," OU President David L. Boren said in a release. "He understands our state, our fan base and our tradition of excellence and will approach his job in view of the values that make Oklahoma, our University and our athletics program so great."

Rowland replaces Bob Barry Sr., 80, who retired at the end of basketball season after two stints as the voice of the Sooners, from 1961-72 and from 1991 through this year. He also worked as a play-by-play voice for Oklahoma State basketball between the stints.

Rowland will begin his duties at the Sooners' spring game on April 16.

"I am beyond humbled to be entrusted with a position that has such a rich and storied history at the University of Oklahoma," Rowland said. "I have the greatest respect and admiration for Mr. Barry, Mr. (John) Brooks and all the men who have held the microphone at OU. It is with tremendous enthusiasm and excitement that I look forward to carrying the torch forward in a way that will hopefully make them proud."