The Scoop on Mark Stoops to Kentucky
No one can accuse Kentucky of under-selling the hiring of Mark Stoops. First, there was the behind-the-scenes look at the UK brass' trip from Lexington to Tallahassee to pick up Stoops and his family on Sunday morning.
Then, there was the press conference set up that looked closer to a pep rally than a press conference. The press conference was set up on the field at the Wildcats' indoor practice facility with blaring music and a large video screen showing Kentucky football highlights.
Finally, there was athletics director's Mitch Barnhart's statement of where he wants Stoops to take the Wildcats. "You deserve a championship program," Barnhart said. "We want to play in Atlanta (for the SEC championship) and on New Year's Day."
To his credit, Stoops did not shy away from Barnhart's goals, saying his expectations were, "To play in the SEC Championship. And to win it."
Stoops and Barnhart first talked on the Saturday, Nov. 10 following Florida State's Thursday night win over Virginia Tech. The two agreed to a five-year, $11 million contract on Monday night.
"I'm highly motivated to build this program to national prominence," Stoops said to cheers from the crowd. "I believe in this administration and the commitment they're willing to make to this football program."
Stoops said he isn't concerned with what happened in the Wildcats' 2012 season. "I'm really not interested in what happened before," Stoops said to more cheers. "We're not too worried about the results right now, we're worried about the process."
He will, however, meet with UK's current assistants and will consider retaining a few of them, saying "Absolutely you consider them." Stoops said he has not had a chance to visit with any of the current Kentucky assistants but he hasn't ruled out retaining any of them. He declined to say whether he has considered hiring any Florida State assistants to his staff.
Stoops plans on interviewing prospects for the offensive coordinator role soon. He feels he has his defensive staff close to complete and will focus hiring an offensive staff. "We're going to have an offense you're going to be proud of," Stoops said to even more cheers. "We have to be creative. We will spread it out and we'll use some bells and whistles to get going."
Finally, below is a photo that best illustrates just how festive this press conference was.