Kentucky Wildcats Football: Mark Stoops can snap a 40 year streak for first year coaches

Dec 2, 2012; Lexington , KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops waves to fans before being introduced a the new football coach at the University of Kentucky in the Nutter Field House. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Today is a big day for the future of the Kentucky Wildcats football program. 2014 QB recruit Drew Barker will make his college choice known and there is a lot of buzz that he will choose Kentucky. That does nothing for the next season of UK football however, as Mark Stoops has the majority of a team that went 2-10. It’s not taking a shot at Joker Phillips to say that the bar is set really, really low for Mark Stoops in his first season at UK. It’s reality. And it’s also a harsh reality that the bar is set really low for first year coaches at UK in general. As a matter of fact, if Mark Stoops can go 3-9 overall and 1-7 in the SEC, he is duplicating a mark that has not happened at UK for 40 seasons.

Fran Curci in 1973 was the last first year head coach to have a better overall record and a better SEC record than the last year of his predecessor. In 1972, John Ray went 3-8 and 2-5 in the SEC. Curci’s 1973 team went 5-6 and 3-4. Since then, a lot of futility. Here is a look at the last year of the outgoing coach and the results of the first year coach since Curci.

JOHN RAY – 1972 – 3-8 (2-5)
FRAN CURCI – 1973 – 5-6 (3-4)

FRAN CURCI – 1981 – 3-8 (2-4)
JERRY CLAIBORNE – 1982 – 0-10-1 (0-6)

JERRY CLAIBORNE – 1989 – 6-5 (2-5)
BILL CURRY – 1990 – 4-7 (3-4)

BILL CURRY – 1996 – 4-7 (3-5)
HAL MUMME – 1997 – 5-6 (2-6)

HAL MUMME – 2000 – 2-9 (0-8)
GUY MORRIS – 2001 – 2-9 (1-7)

GUY MORRIS – 2002 – 7-5 (3-5)
RICH BROOKS – 2003 – 4-8 (1-7)

RICH BROOKS – 2009 – 7-6 (3-5)
JOKER PHILLIPS – 2010 – 6-7 (2-6)

JOKER PHILLIPS – 2012 – 2-10 (0-8)
MARK STOOPS – 2013 – ???? (????)

Granted, the bar is set low for Stoops, but also this helps to define what a successful first season would look like. Stoops will still have quite a remarkable first season to become the most improved first year coach ever at UK. In 1945, Bernie Shively went 2-8 and 0-5 in the SEC. The next year, Bear Bryant posted a 7-3 mark with 2-3 in the SEC. But with recruits like Barker (hopefully) and the rest of the 2014 class, Mark Stoops is setting the groundwork for success at Kentucky. And Stoops needs just 61 wins to pass Bryant as the UK coach with most wins.

The countdown starts August 31.

Topics: Bear Bryant Kentucky, Football, Kentucky Wildcats, Mark Stoops

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