Notes and tidbits from Mark Stoops’ introductory press conference as the new University of Kentucky head football coach:
Stoops’ contact with Kentucky is a five-year deal laden with incentive clauses that could pay him more than $11 million. It runs through Dec. 31, 2017.
The base salary is $400,000 per year with media and endorsement agreements that will pay Stoops $1.6 million the first year of the deal and an additional, escalating $100,000 for each of the other four years ending with $2 million in 2017.
There are also numerous incentives, including:
• Winning five or more SEC games: $100,000
• Each SEC win beginning with the second of each season: $100,000
• Winning the SEC Eastern Division: $100,000
• Winning the SEC championship or participating in a BCS bowl (or its successor): $200,000
• Winning the national championship: $200,000
• Participate in non-BCS bowl (or its successor) with receipts less than $2 million: $50,000
• Participate in non-BCS bowl (or its successor) with receipts greater than $2 million: $125,000
• Cumulative team GPA of 2.75 or greater: $25,000
• Minimum .950 academic progress rate: $25,000
• SEC Coach of the Year by league or AP vote: $50,000
• National Coach of the Year by AP, USA Today or AFCA: $75,000
The deal was signed by Stoops, UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and UK President Eli Capilouto on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012.
Changing The Culture:
One of the things that Barnhart set out to do when he sought a replacement for Joker Phillips was shifting the priority of the program from offense to defense. The Wildcats had fielded numerous successful offensive units over the years under head coaches Hal Mumme, Guy Morriss, Rich Brooks and Joker Phillips, but a common theme that kept UK from climbing the SEC ladder was consistently subpar defense.
“I wanted to change the focus of where we were and to begin to think defensively, how we can stop people,” Barnhart said. “I felt like, over time, we had slipped away to giving up 25 or 30 points per game. In this league, you’re not going to have success at the level you want if you can’t stop somebody.
“As you looked, statistically, we were in the lower part of the country in third-down efficiency, getting off the field. It was important to get our players off the field. If you’re not very deep, you need to get your players off the field.”
Stoops comes to UK after leading Florida State to a No. 2 national ranking in total defense, allowing only 253.7 yards per game. The Seminoles were No. 3 in pass defense (160.7 ypg), No. 5 in rush defense (93 ypg) and, perhaps most importantly, No. 7 in scoring defense at 15.08 points per game.
Barnhart added that he always keeps a close eye on both the NCAA offensive and defensive leaders to familiarize himself with the coaches responsible for guiding those units should an opening in his program occur.
"You gotta be prepared in this thing," he said. "I didn't want to get to that day where we had to change, but if I did, I wanted to be ready."
The Three Fs:
Stoops’ path to the Kentucky job was influenced by dozens of colleagues in the profession, but he most often references the three Fs: family, Fry and Fisher.
His father, Ron Stoops, was a defensive coordinator at Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney High School. The two used to spend hours in the family home talking football, watching film, basically eating, drinking and breathing in the essence of the game. “Of course, that's a big part of who I am, how I grew up.”
Brothers Bob and Mike, now the head coach and defensive coordinator at Oklahoma, were also major influences. Still are. “They’re resources I'm always going to use. They're people that I lean on each and every day with my brothers. So we obviously talk and rely on each other.”
He found another father figure when he played for the University of Iowa and the Hawkeyes’ Hall of Fame coach, Hayden Fry from 1986-88. “That was just a tremendous experience as a player and as a graduate assistant coach,” he said. “I got my start with Hayden Fry. Just a tremendous person.”
Finally, current Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher gave him an opportunity to be the defensive coordinator at one of college football’s biggest programs and improve his management skills. “The last three years at Florida State, I think it really gave me a good vision for what I want to do as a head coach with some of the structure, the way you structure the organization.”
Endorsement for Brown:
Former Kentucky standout Tim Couch, who assisted Barnhart in the search for a new coach, was asked about his thoughts on reaching out to former Wildcat teammate Neal Brown as a potential offensive coordinator candidate. Brown, a Danville native who played wide receiver at UK from 1998-2000, is currently the OC at Texas Tech, where the Red Raiders are second nationally in passing offense (361 ypg) and 12th in total offense (501 ypg) while averaging 37.8 points per game.
“I think Neal is a hot candidate at a lot of places,” Couch said, “but, especially (here) with him being an old Kentucky guy and a teammate of mine. He’s went on to do great things. He’s one of the hottest offensive coordinators in the country right now… If that’s the route Mark wants to go, I would fully support that, and I know everyone in Kentucky would as well.”