The first blow in the college football coaching carousel has been struck, as the Kentucky Wildcats will name Mark Stoops as their next head coach, according to Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio:
OFFICIAL: KSR can confirm Mark Stoops will be named Kentucky football coach this afternoon
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) November 27, 2012
UPDATE: Tuesday, November 27 at 3:20 p.m. by Timothy Rapp
It's official—Stoops is in. From Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal:
Mitch Barnhart in statement: "Today I’m excited for Mark Stoops and his family as they provide a new beginning for our football program."— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) November 27, 2012
This is a really good get for Kentucky. Stoops is a hot commodity in the coaching ranks who brings name recognition to a program desperately needing a renovation. Stay tuned as more details emerge.
---End of Update---
Stoops, who is finishing his third full season as the Florida State Seminoles' defensive coordinator, will take the place of Joker Phillips. The former Kentucky coach was fired earlier this year when the team was 1-9, and it finished the campaign with a 2-10 record.
Stoops had been a name on the Wildcats' wish list all along. CBS Sports' Jeremy Fowler reported on Saturday that Stoops had already interviewed for the position.
At Florida State, Stoops' defenses have been among the best in the country. This season, the Seminoles rank second in the nation in yards per game allowed (243.3) and give up just 15.1 points per game, good for No. 7 in the FBS.
Florida State's ability to stop opposing teams is an overarching reason why the team is 10-2 on the season and will play in the ACC championship on Saturday.
Unfortunately for Stoops, he won't be blessed with as many top-flight players at Kentucky. In fact, he'll take over a Kentucky program in desperate need of rejuvenation. The Wildcats regressed in each season under Phillips and have struggled to bring big-named recruits to the school.
Nevertheless, Stoops has to be happy to finally join his brothers in the long family lineage of college head coaches. Mark, 45, is the younger brother of Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops and former Arizona Wildcats head coach Mike Stoops.
The job may not be easy, but if Mark is able to save this floundering Kentucky program, he may become as revered in Lexington as Bob is in Norman.
Lead image courtesy of 247sports.com.