Mark Stoops Named Kentucky Head Coach

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

The Kentucky Wildcats football program is in turnaround, after naming Mark Stoops as the next head coach, according to Kentucky Sports Radio’s Matt Jones.  He will replace Joker Phillips, who was fired for a poor 1-9 record this year by the university’s athletic director Mitch Barnhart on Nov. 4.

“Today I’m excited for Mark Stoops and his family as they provide a new beginning for our football program,” tweeted Kentucky beat writer Kyle Tucker.

Stoops has been at the top of the college coaching ranks after a successful stint as the Florida State’s defensive coordinator, who currently ranks No. 13 in the nation.  The 45-year-old coach will be officially introduced to the program on Sunday, ending a quicker-than-expected coaching search that lasted all of 23 days.

“I want to thank (Kentucky) President Eli Capilouto and Mitch Barnhart for this opportunity,” Stoops said in a statement.  “I promise the faithful of the Big Blue Nation I will be focused and driven to create a positive, winning atmosphere for the program and an environment that all of Kentucky can be proud of.”

Stoops has been the mastermind behind the Florida State defense for three seasons.  In 2012, the Seminoles rank second in yards allowed per game (243.3) and have only given up a rigid 15.1 points per contest, which pits them seventh overall in college football.  As a result, Florida State (10-2) is at the top of the ACC and will play against Georgia Tech on Saturday for the conference championship.

Now, in charge of the Blue Devils football program, Stoops won’t be endowed with as much pure talent as he had with the Seminoles.  The Wildcats are astoundingly bad and there’s really no site of a turnaround season in the near future.  He’ll have to start rebuilding from the ground up and recruit top-talent youngsters on his reputation alone.

Nevertheless, there’s no going down from an 1-9 regular season record.  He’ll just have to figure out a way where he can last two plus years with an unremarkable record.  My prediction is he’ll have to stay above a .500 record at least once in the next two years and put Kentucky football back on the map.

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