Kentucky has hired Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops as the new head football coach. I can’t read those words enough after the past two seasons of UK football have been frustrating, heartbreaking, and downright ugly to watch at times. After it appeared as the UK was ready to “settle” on a a coach like Mike McIntyre or Gary Anderson, quality coaches who don’t have what UK needs right now, Mitch shocked us all by hiring away Stoops from Florida State.
Stoops has what UK needs that they haven’t had for awhile: southern recruiting ties, Ohio recruiting ties, coaching experience in a BCS conference, and a defensive mindset. The last UK coach to have a defensive background at UK was Rich Brooks Under Stoops, FSU’s defense currently have the #2-ranked defense in the nation, allowing just 249.4 yards per game, behind only Alabama’s 233.7 per game.
From the beginning of the UK football coaching search, Stoops was a name that was being linked to UK, though it wasn’t reported until Sunday. Kyle Tucker of the Courier Journal interviewed Kirk Herbstreit in November after UK had fired Joker Phillips, and he brought up Stoops as tone of the top targets UK should go after:
Mark Stoops is a name that to me is going to create some attention when this season is over because of the success he’s had and his pedigree and where he’s from. He’s a go-getter and a guy that I think has a lot to offer. You wonder: Are we getting to a point where (Alabama D-coordinator) Kirby Smart is ready to go out and become a head coach. I think he’s a guy that has a lot of energy and has a lot to offer, being familiar with the SEC and being a former player in the SEC and now a coach at Bama. So those are two, I guess, just off the top of my head, that come to mind.
Here is a summary of his 23 years of coaching experience:
|Iowa (GA) |
Nordonia High School (DB)
South Florida (DB)
Arizona (DC & DB)
Florida State (DC & DB)
In his four seasons at Florida State, here are all the defensive Seminoles who have been drafted:
And in case you didn’t already know, Mark is embedded in a family tradition of football coaching. He is the younger brother of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, former Arizona head coach Mike Stoops, and Ron Jr., who is an assistant coach at Youngstown State.
This also lines up with what Mitch Barnhart was saying during the Kentucky-UT pregame radio show on Saturday when he was adamantly pointing out the success of first time coordinators who became successful head coaches.
Given his track record, and his recruiting success, and his southern recruiting ties, this is solid hire for UK that fans should be extremely pleased with and should sing the praises of Mitch Barnhart after he’d become public enemy #1 in the eyes of UK fans.