The University of Kentucky hired Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops to replace Joker Phillips as coach of a football program that went 2-10 this season, the school’s worst record since 1994.
Stoops, 45, has spent the past four seasons at Florida State, which is 11-1 this season and has allowed the seventh-fewest points at college football’s top level. This is his first head coaching job, having also been an assistant at Arizona, Miami, Houston, Wyoming and South Florida.
Stoops is the younger brother of University of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and former Arizona coach Mike Stoops, who is the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma. His oldest brother, Ron, is an assistant at Youngstown State in Ohio.
“Our desire to get better defensively and continue to expand our recruiting base helped guide us to Mark,” Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart said in a statement. “He comes from a coaching family and has been in big games and big atmospheres throughout his career.”
Kentucky fired Phillips on Nov. 4, a day after the Wildcats were beaten by Vanderbilt University 40-0 to fall to 1-9. The Wildcats finished the season with an 0-8 record against Southeastern Conference opponents.
The Kentucky job was one of four football coaching vacancies in the conference, which has won the past six college football national championships. Arkansas fired John L. Smith over the weekend, Auburn is seeking a replacement for Gene Chizik and Tennessee dismissed Derek Dooley.