Willie Martinez picks Oklahoma over Stanford

He accepted a position as an assistant coach at Stanford late last week, only to change his mind when Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops called and offered a job over the weekend.

Now Martinez is officially back in the game -- the newly hired defensive backs coach at Oklahoma, where he'll work for a noted defensive guru in Stoops.

"That was a great situation at Stanford, and I was all excited to go," Martinez said on a conference call with Oklahoma media Thursday. "But to have the opportunity to be a part of one of the top five or top 10 programs in the history of college football, and be a part of Bob Stoops and that great staff at Oklahoma, I just couldn't turn that down.

"You do the best you can in making these decisions, what you think is best for your family," Martinez added.

Stoops said his interest in hiring Martinez stemmed from past off-season visits with the UGA staff.

"Our staffs had been been together exchanging ideas, and I was impressed with Willie," Stoops said in a statement. "In those meetings, you not only get a feel for how well someone knows the game but their ability to communicate and interact with people. And Willie was a guy that represented himself and his school very well."

Stoops called Martinez "an outstanding coach ... with a tremendous background in our profession" and a strong recruiter "with ties in Florida and a number of other places."

Martinez coached defensive backs at Georgia for nine seasons, also serving as defensive coordinator for the past five. He drew much criticism for the play of the Bulldogs' defense the past two seasons. He was fired Dec. 2 along with two other defensive coaches -- John Jancek and Jon Fabris.

Jancek now is the linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator at Cincinnati. Fabris was hired as the defensive line coach at Louisville last month but subsequently resigned for personal reasons to return to Athens.

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