Mark Stoops, Kentucky agree to contract extension through 2028


Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops, center, poses for photos with his players the the Governor’s Cup trophy after the UK vs. Louisville Governor’s Cup football game on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, at Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky. UK won 52-21. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Hunter Shelton

Kentucky football will not be entering the coaching carousel this offseason.  

Mark Stoops has “agreed in principle” to a contract extension with the program, UK Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart announced on Tuesday 

The contract will run through June 2028 and continues guaranteed extensions for any season with seven wins (one-year extension) or 10 wins (two-year extension).

“We have been in discussion with Coach Stoops in recent weeks and are excited about his ongoing commitment to Kentucky,” Barnhart said. “Coach Stoops has done an outstanding job in building the UK football program and we look forward to continued success under his leadership.” 

The agreement takes into account UK’s current 9-3 season, which earned Stoops a one-year extension through June 2027.  

“I’m excited to continue to build this program to national prominence,” Stoops said.  “We’re on our way and I’m more confident in Kentucky football than I’ve ever been.” 

Stoops arrived in Lexington in 2013, taking over a program that finished the 2012 season with an abysmal 2-10 record. Since his arrival, Stoops has led the Wildcats to five winning seasons in nine years, including five bowl game appearances, with a sixth to come this season.  

“Our football and athletics programs have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to success for our students — on the field and in the classroom,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “Our football program, under Coach Stoops, has only strengthened the commitment that we have as an institution to putting students first in everything that we do. We are preparing our students for lives of meaning and purpose when they leave UK, no matter what path they take.” 

Stoops’ name was rumored to be in contention for multiple high-profile head coaching vacancies, including LSU and Oklahoma. The 2022 season will make Stoops the longest-tenured head coach in program history.  

“I thank President Capilouto and Mitch Barnhart for their support,” Stoops said. “The continuity among us for the last nine years is extremely valuable and I’m looking forward to more success together.”