Profile: UK football head coach hire, Mark Stoops



By Nick Gray

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Coming from a family of head coaches, 45-year-old Mark Stoops is poised to become the next in his family to gain control of a major college football program.

Stoops is currently the defensive coordinator and secondary coach for Florida State, a job he’s worked since 2010. Under Stoops, Florida State’s defenses have grown from 108th in the FBS during 2009 to 42nd in 2010 and fourth in 2011.

In 2012, Stoops’ Florida State squad is ranked second in total defense in the FBS. Also, Florida State is seventh in scoring defense and fourth in rushing yards allowed per game. Stoops’ secondary is ranked sixth in passing yards allowed per game, and the Seminoles rank first in the ACC in each ranking detailed this year. Four Florida State defensive players — defensive ends Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine, cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Lamarcus Joyner — were named to the All-ACC First Team.

Before he landed in Tallahassee, Stoops served as defensive coordinator and secondary coach for Arizona under head coach and older brother, Mike. In his final season at Arizona, the Wildcats’ defense was ranked 25th in total defense. In 2008, Stoops’ Arizona squad finished 24th in total defense nationally. Stoops worked in this capacity from 2004 to 2009.

In 2007, Stoops coached Arizona cornerback Antoine Cason to the Jim Thorpe Award (given to the most outstanding secondary player in the country), consensus All-America and first-team All-Pac 10 honors.

Stoops coached at Miami (Fla.) from 2001 to 2003 as the secondary coach for teams that compiled a record of 35-3 and won a national championship in 2001. While at Miami, Stoops coached numerous players that moved onto the NFL, notably first round picks in safeties Ed Reed and Sean Taylor, and cornerbacks Antrel Rolle, Kelly Jennings, Phillip Buchanon and Mike Rumph. The 2001 Hurricanes defense allowed 9.75 points per game. Incidentally, Stoops took over as secondary coach after his predecessor Chuck Pagano (now head coach of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts while having to take time off for battling leukemia) took a job with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.

Stoops began his full-time college coaching career at South Florida in 1996 as part of the first football coaching staff in school history. Before he ever coached a game for the Bulls, Stoops became secondary coach at Wyoming from 1997 to 1999. Then-Wyoming coach Dana Dimel brought Stoops onto his staff at Houston in 2000 as his co-defensive coordinator.

Stoops played his college football from 1986 to 1988 at Iowa under famed coach Hayden Fry. Stoops was a graduate assistant under Fry during the 1990 and 1991 seasons at Iowa.

Stoops’ three older brothers, Bob, Mike and Ron Jr., continue to coach on the college level.  Ron Stoops Jr., the oldest of the four, is a linebackers coach at Youngstown State. Bob Stoops is in his 14th season as head coach of Oklahoma. Mike Stoops is the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Oklahoma. The brothers were born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, by Ron Sr. and Evelyn Stoops.