Smith a good fit as UK’s new receivers coach


Michael Smith was announced as UK’s new wide receivers coach on Jan. 26, 2018, replacing Lamar Thomas.

The 2017 football season won’t be the first time that head coach Mark Stoops and new wide receivers coach Michael Smith have shared the sidelines.

The two were assistant coaches for the Arizona Wildcats from 2007-2008, when Stoops was the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. However, Stoops and Smith go even further back than that, all the way to their playing days in college.

“I played against Mark Stoops my freshman year when he was at Iowa,” Smith said. “I was a freshman receiver at Kansas State and we played each other.”

That game took place in 1988, and Stoops’ Hawkeyes took home a 35-point victory. Despite being on the same field as each other, Smith claims Stoops never attempted to cover Smith on any of his routes.

“He was a deep safety. I was in the slot and he was way back. He didn’t want to cover me,” Smith said. “But I will say that they beat the crap out of us that day.”

Fast forward 29 years and the two will share the field for the third time in their football careers and the second time being on the same team. Smith is taking over as the wide receivers coach position after Lamar Thomas was let go in the offseason.

When the job first opened up, Smith was immediately interested.

“When this opportunity came open, I reached out to him and said I would be very interested in becoming a Kentucky Wildcat,” Smith said. “It worked out and I’m just ecstatic to be here with my family.”

Family was one of the things that made the receivers job at Kentucky look attractive to Smith. Smith has four kids of his own and wanted to be involved in a program that values family the way that Stoops does.

Smith knows that Stoops has a great family because he’s gotten to know the head coach’s family from all the times their paths have crossed during their football careers.

“I got to meet the family and played with a bunch of guys that they knew at Kansas State. I’ve always been really involved with their family,” Smith said. “Mrs. Stoops – Mark’s mom – is a great woman. She was a big fan of mine when I was playing so I got to know her and then obviously when I worked for her sons.”

One thing that made Smith a good candidate for the job was his recruiting abilities. Smith is known as one of the best recruiters in the country, especially in the state of Louisiana.

“Definitely going to let him explore that, yes,” Stoops said of Smith’s recruiting in Louisiana on National Signing Day.

In the early weeks since the hiring, Smith appears to be a good fit as Kentucky’s new wide receivers coach. He’s got a young group to teach, but he likes the challenge.

“There’s no doubt that I like the challenge of being able to mold those guys, I look forward to it,” Smith said. “I’ve had a bunch of young receivers in my career.”