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LEXINGTON (AP) — Mark Stoops was introduced Sunday as Kentucky’s new football coach and got everyone’s attention, saying he believes the Wildcats are capable of winning the Southeastern Conference title.
He didn’t say it would be easy, but it’s not impossible.
“There are no magic wands,” Stoops said at a news conference.
But Kentucky is confident Stoops can rebuild a program that just finished their third straight losing season and 0-8 in the SEC. Stoops, the former Florida State defensive coordinator, received a 5-year, $11 million deal. He’ll begin his work at Kentucky immediately and will not accompany the Seminoles to their bowl game.
“There’s too much work to do at Kentucky and it’s hard to be in two places at once,” Stoops said.
Kentucky had announced on Tuesday that the 45-year-old Stoops was going to be the man to replace Joker Phillips, who was fired on Nov. 4. Phillips was 2-10 this season and 13-24 overall.
He says it will be challenge to transform Kentucky into a winner, “There are no magic wands.”
Stoops arrived in Lexington less than 18 hours after helping the Seminoles beat Georgia Tech 21-15 for the Atlantic Coast Conference championship and a likely BCS berth in the Orange Bowl.
Stoops led Seminoles defense that ranked second in the nation this season and came up with a last-minute interception on Saturday night to preserve their victory over the Yellow Jackets.
Stoops is the third and youngest brother from the famed coaching family to lead his own program. Older brother Bob is Oklahoma’s head coach and Mike Stoops, the former coach at Arizona, is the Sooners’ defensive coordinator.