Could Mark Stoops make the voyage to the West Coast to coach the Bruins in 2024? He is however very likely staying at Kentucky.
Before moving to Wyoming to coach defensive backs at both schools, Mark Stoops started his coaching career as an assistant at South Florida. Then, in 2000, he joined Houston as a co-defensive coordinator. Following his time as a defensive backs coach at Miami (FL), he went on to work as a defensive coordinator at Arizona and Florida State. In 2013, he was appointed head coach of Kentucky, a position he has held ever since. The current query is: Would Stoops coach UCLA instead of Kentucky?
With an annual salary of $9,013,600, Kentucky head football coach Mark Stoops is the eighth-highest-paid college football coach in the country, according to a USA TODAY Sports report. Why then would Stoops even think about leaving Kentucky? Here are some explanations for why he might.
In response to reporters covering the Kentucky basketball program and head coach John Calipari of the Wildcats.
Stoops may want to leave Kentucky for UCLA, where basketball coach Mick Cronin encourages and supports the football team in comparison or at least publicly and not say things similar to what Calipari said.
Being able to coach in the Big Ten next season as opposed to the SEC is another factor. Texas and Oklahoma will make the SEC more formidable and competitive from top to bottom, while the addition of Oregon, USC, Washington, and UCLA in 2024 will make the Big Ten conference more competitive overall but still not the overall competition the SEC presents overall.
In SEC play, Stoop’s best record is 5-3, which it achieved twice in 2021 and 2018. In contrast to the SEC, where he and his team are in the same division as Georgia, the reigning national champions, he might be open to coaching in the Big Ten, where he might be able to win the conference.
The last justification is this: perhaps the Big Ten offers Stoops a better chance of coaching a team like UCLA to the college football playoffs if he’s looking for a potentially better opportunity and a different route to the postseason that doesn’t involve playing Georgia and Alabama every season. The most prestigious bowl game that Kentucky has attended under Stoops is the Citrus Bowl. He might feel that attending a university like UCLA will help him accomplish his objective of leading his team to the college football playoffs.
Do UCLA supporters want Stoops? Yes, whether they realize it or not. The athletic director, the board of trustees, and the major financial backers can all support Stoops, according to social media, message boards, and even rumors that wealthy donors are eager to bring a more successful and more importantly, a proven coach who has won in a major conference like the SEC to Westwood.
With five victories in his last six bowl games, Stoops is 5-3 overall. His only losing season since 2015 occurred in 2020. Except for the 2016 campaign, he and his squad have won at least seven games each season. His dependability and the way he developed the football program at Kentucky is something UCLA fans and or alums can get behind.
His ability to recruit is very important to UCLA supporters and fans as seen below by a quote from an ESPN recruiting expert.
“I think Mark Stoops is the best program builder in all of college football right now,” said ESPN National Recruiting Director Tom Luginbill of the SEC Coach of the Year recipient for 2018.
Stoops is motivated to recruit and bring in the best student-athletes out of high school to play in his program which was different than Kelly who relied on the transfer portal and besides the commitment from Dante Moore (who has since transferred to Oregon), has not brought in top 25 recruiting classes.
Is it realistic to expect to meet Mark Stoops? Small chance but It would be challenging to convince Stoops to leave Kentucky and take a job as head coach at UCLA even if there was a coaching vacancy in Westwood. The odds are less than 1% percent but you never know in the future. There was already a rumor that he turned down the job to become the next head coach at Texas A&M. He receives a great salary from Kentucky and had the option to leave after a 10-win 2021 campaign but opted to stay, demonstrating his commitment to the program, and from all indications, appears content in his role as head coach of the Wildcats. The Wildcats’ supporters appear to adore him, and the only occasion they were irate with him was when Kentucky fell short against Vanderbilt at home in the previous season. However, the Wildcats have lost four of the last six games and maybe just maybe Stoops may need a change of scenery.