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New UK football coach Mark Stoops says there are no magic wands for success at Kentucky

New UK football coach Mark Stoops addresses the media at a press conference Sunday in Lexington. (Clay Jackson photo)

New UK football coach Mark Stoops addresses the media at a press conference Sunday in Lexington. (Clay Jackson photo)

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.

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  1. Larry T Clemons

    Welcome Aboard Coach ! Orange Bowl, Florida State vs Louisville, if that’s true, should be a good one, Louisville’s young Quarterback and Receiver are from Miami…

  2. Lori Metcalf

    Lucked into attending the press conference and I was impressed with the energy in the place. From the pep band, cheerleaders and Wildcat to Stoops himself. Mitch Barnhardt’s and Tony Neely’s staffs did an excellent job pulling off this event.

    Larry, who was the guy sitting in front of you on the front row with Coach Stoops’ family?

    I think it says a lot that Coach Stoops asked for this job. He wants to be here at Kentucky for all the good and ill that brings. I am anxious to see how his management of the team develops over the coming weeks and months. And I can’t wait for the women’s clinic!!

    1. David Hopewell

      Lori that was Mark Hill. Associate AD. Great guy.

      1. Lori Metcalf

        Thanks! He got a rousing welcome from the crowd when he came in. I think a lot of people thought he was the coach. :-)

  3. Andy S

    I wonder which of the coaching staff will Coach Stoops will speak too? Its obvious Minter and Randy are gone and possibly Turner. I hope guys like Woodson and Jarmon can stick around. I could see him speaking to Mike Summers, Pat Washington and Chuck Smith.

    1. Gene

      I’m probably biased here being from the Boyle County area but coach Stoops could do a whole lot worse than hiring Chuck Smith as his linebacker coach.
      If there was a bright spot these last couple of years it was the play of UK’s linebacking corps. Smith obviously had a whole lot to do with that fact and he is a former Wildcat to boot, something that in most cases is vastly over-rated.
      In this case — not so much !!

  4. Jason Mahoney

    I really Hope that Chuck Smith and Mike Summers are both hire back onto this staff. Linebackers and offense Line have been bright spots for the past few years. I know both of those coaches are great at Developing kids but they are also great recruiters!! Big thing we need is to recruit. It’s way easier to develop 4 and 5 star kids verse looking for that Randle Cobb and Andre Woodson type players!

    Go Cats!!

    1. larryvaught

      Would work for me Jason, but just have a feeling we are going to see a whole new staff

  5. TrueBlueJohn

    Usually a new coach will keep at most two coaches from the previous staff, and many times will not keep any. While I think that Chuck Smith was the best position coach on the staff, It is Coach Stoops’ choice. He may want to start with a completely new slate.

  6. Lori Metcalf

    I think the defensive coaches will all be new because of Stoops’ background. He’s going to want his guys in those roles. Summers will likely get a courtesy interview because of his connections. Utimately, it will probably be a whole new staff with the possible exceptions of grad assistants and the more adminsitrative roles like the operations guys. Since he hasn’t been a head coach, he doesn’t have those already in place and maybe will want to capitalize on the experience of the operations folks in moving a team around the SEC.

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