Bob Stoops announces Jim Thorpe Award

As three of college football’s top defensive backs prepare to learn Thursday evening who among them will take home the coveted Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, it was announced today that former University of Oklahoma head football coach Bob Stoops will present the honor tonight on ESPN. 

Once a defensive back standout himself at the University of Iowa, Stoops will appear as part of The Home Depot College Football Awards show, scheduled to air live on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 7, from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

Bob Stoops

“We are proud to be the headline sponsor of the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, and are grateful Bob Stoops agreed to present this year’s award,” said Paycom’s founder and CEO, Chad Richison.

“Stoops developed a reputation as a defensive genius, and the way he’s managed himself and his teams aligns with the core values shared by Paycom and the Jim Thorpe Association.

“Bob knows the talent and skills required to play defensive back at an elite level from his days playing college football as a Hawkeye. The three finalists will remember this day for the rest of their lives and the winner will remember receiving this award from a fellow defensive back who developed a reputation as a fearless competitor.”

A four-year starter and 1982 All-Big Ten selection as a defensive back at Iowa, Stoops holds the record for most wins as a head coach at the University of Oklahoma, where he led the program to more than three times as many championships (10) as the next closest school in the Big 12 before retiring at the end of the 2016-17 season. During his 18-year career at OU, Stoops’ program produced two Thorpe Award winners in Derrick Strait (2003) and Roy Williams (2001).

“This is a great honor for me to present the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award to the best defensive back in America,” said Stoops. “I am also pleased this award is named after one of Oklahoma’s greatest athletes, Jim Thorpe, and is sponsored by one of the state’s and nation’s fastest-growing and innovative companies in Paycom. Being a former defensive back myself, it is a privilege to present this year’s Thorpe winner.”

Now in its 31st year, the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is presented annually to the outstanding defensive back in college football and is the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame’s (OSHOF) most distinguished national tribute.

Paycom Jim Thorpe Award Finalists:
DeShon Elliott, University of Texas (junior)
     Minkah Fitzpatrick, University of Alabama (junior)
     Josh Jackson, University of Iowa (junior)

The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is presented to the outstanding defensive back in college football each year on ESPN and is the OSHOF’s most distinguished national tribute. Established in 1986, this accolade is based on performance, athletic ability and character.

The Paycom Jim Thorpe Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 23 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit to learn more.

As a leader in payroll and HR technology, Oklahoma City-based Paycom redefines the human capital management industry by allowing companies to effectively navigate a rapidly changing business environment. Its cloud-based software solution is based on a core system of record maintained in a single database for all human capital management functions, providing the functionality that businesses need to manage the complete employment life cycle, from recruitment to retirement. Paycom has the ability to serve businesses of all sizes and in every industry. As one of the leading human capital management providers, Paycom serves clients in all 50 states from offices across the country.

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