Mark Stoops signs $8.6 million contract extension


Jack Weaver

Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops coaches from the sideline during the Kentucky vs. No. 1 Georgia football game on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Georgia won 16-6. Photo by Jack Weaver | Kentucky Kernel

Samantha Money, Assistant Sports Editor

Kentucky football head coach Mark Stoops signed a contract extension with $8.6 million per-season to stay in Lexington through the 2030 football season.

Perhaps more significantly, the extension also raised Stoops’ buyout price to $4.5 million from the $1.75 million it had been prior. The move was likely a necessity for Barnhart, seeing as Stoops’ name came up in multiple schools’ searches for a new head coach throughout the season.

The extension also increased Stoops’ bonus potential. Stoops is set to earn $100,000 for every season Kentucky makes a bowl, $150,000 for every season Kentucky reaches eight or more wins, $500,000 if the Wildcats make the College Football Playoffs, $650,000 if Kentucky makes the National Championship Game and $800,000 if Kentucky wins a National Championship.

The extension was officially signed on Nov. 11, a day before Kentucky’s upset loss to Vanderbilt 24-21, which marked the Commodores’ first SEC win in 26-straight attempts.

“We have been working on this for over a month and are glad to have it finalized,” UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart said in a release. “Continuity has become more and more important in today’s landscape, and make no mistake about it, the job that Coach Stoops has done is well known and highly regarded throughout the college football world.”

When the raise takes effect in February of 2023, Stoops’ salary will be more than Kentucky mens basketball head coach John Calipari, who currently has a $8.5 million salary, but that will change in July 2025 when Calipari’s salary is also set to raise to $9 million.

The contract renewal for Stoops sees the head coach earn a significant upgrade compared to the $6.35 million he is making this season.

“This extension also recognizes what Coach Stoops has done over the past decade, with unprecedented achievements in the history of Kentucky football, and reinforces his commitment to UK as we strive for continued success in the future,” Barnhart said.

Despite the contract being signed over a week ago, the information was not released to the media despite the amended contract including a press release expected to be released on Nov. 18.