Mark Stoops: “I’m committed to this place.”

Mark Stoops (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Getting a seventh regular season win for a second straight year was a rare occurrence for Kentucky football. It was a also a rewarding one for coach Mark Stoops.

His contract has a provision that if UK wins seven games, his contract is extended for a year. He’s now under contract though 2022 and will get a raise to $5 million per year in 2022.

“I’m always appreciative of that. This is a grind. It’s always tough. I’m committed to this place and taking it to another level and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Stoops said after Saturday’s win over Vanderbilt.

“And believe me, I want to say, with that, how greatly I appreciate our fan support tonight. Walking out there early and seeing the Big Blue Nation representing like that was just great to see. Our players really loved seeing that. There was a lot of blue out there. We really appreciate our support and thank them for hanging with us.”

That could be big, too. Bowl officials notice how fans travel — and rent hotel rooms.

The SEC bowl choices are a little more jumbled today after Georgia got thrashed by Auburn Saturday. That likely means the SEC won’t have two teams in the national title playoffs, so that drops Georgia back into the bowl mix with other SEC teams.

Mississippi State has also improved its stock with its play against Alabama even in a loss and both South Carolina and LSU are teams on the rise.

Kentucky also has a conflict with the Kentucky-Louisville basketball game on Dec. 29th at 1 p.m. that could influence going to the Music City Bowl or Belk Bowl — both on Dec. 29th.

But no matter how that turns out, Stoops appreciates having another year on his contract at a time when two SEC coaches have been fired during the season.

“Appreciate the administration and what we’re doing. We’re trying to take this thing to another level and we’re going to keep on working at that,” he said.

2 comments

  1. I believe Coach Stoops has the program heading in the right direction, and this team is 7-3, was bowl eligible before the end of October, and will go bowling for the second year in a row.

    Unlike most prior seasons, UK has been competitive in every game except Miss. St. this season, and while it will have a difficult time with Georgia, it should be competitive against UL in 2 weeks.

    Competitiveness at this level seemed so far out of reach just 2 seasons ago when the team could not find another win in the back half of its schedule for bowl eligibility and a 6th win.

  2. Stoops is what we need to build this program. Let him go? Never!

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