Kentucky Hires Florida State Assistant Mark Stoops as Head Coach
The Kentucky Wildcats have hired Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops as their new coach, replacing Joker Phillips who was fired after three disappointing seasons.
The 45-year-old Stoops will be introduced at a news conference after No. 13 Florida State (10-2) tackles Georgia Tech Saturday in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.
Phillips was fired after going 13-24 in three seasons with the Wildcats, who were 0-8 in the Southeastern Conference this year.
"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."
His hiring concludes a quicker-than-expected coaching search for the university. After their season-ending loss at Tennessee, Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said he had no timetable to find a replacement for Phillips.
With the hiring, Stoops became the third brother in college football's famed coaching family to lead his own program. His brother Bob Stoops is the head coach at Oklahoma and Mike Stoops was the head coach at Arizona before taking the Sooners' defensive coordinator job.
Under Stoop's guidance, the Seminoles evolved into one of the nation's top defensive teams after ranking 108th before he took over.
The Seminoles have the nation's second-ranked defense, giving up 249.4 yards per game. Kentucky allowed 391 yards a contest this season.
"Our desire to get better defensively and continue to expand our recruiting base helped guide us to Mark," Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said. "He comes from a coaching family and has been in big games and big atmospheres throughout his career."
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