Comes now news that Kentucky has extended the contract of head coach Mark Stoops until 2019. This is unsurprising to anyone paying attention, as the Wildcats have significantly exceeded many expectations this season, and are on the cusp of a minor bowl despite pre-season prognostications that the Wildcats were at least one year away. From ESPN:
Mark Stoops, who has Kentucky on the cusp of a bowl berth in his second season as coach, has been awarded with a raise and extension that will take him through the 2019 season and pay him an average salary of more than $3.6 million per year.
"I want to show my commitment," Stoops said Friday. "If you know anything about myself, about my family, past history, whether it be with my brothers and different people. loyalty’s a pretty big thing with us, and I certainly feel the loyalty to this program, to our players and all the people that have been so involved and helped us get to where we’re at and where we’re going."
Effective Nov. 1, Stoops will earn a pro-rated sum of $3 million for this season, and that figure will increase by $250,000 each season through 2019. He will earn $3.25 million in 2015, $3.5 million in 2016, $3.75 million in 2017, $4 million in 2018 and $4.25 million in 2019.
Needless to say, that commitment works both ways. The UK athletics department is clearly showing a commitment to Stoops and his vision and rewarding him for his outstanding recruiting and for getting Kentucky on the apparent pathway to football success in the oh-so-difficult SEC. But it doesn’t end there:
Barnhart added that Stoops’ staff members would also receive new deals.
If Kentucky continues to demonstrate a commitment to football, it will be rewarded both in terms of finances and victories. Kentucky is unlikely to become Alabama or LSU, but I’d settle for a path similar to what South Carolina has been on in this last decade. It’s tough here, but Stoops is proving that with commitment, determination and a financial commitment by the university, a program can be built in the formerly stony football soil of the Bluegrass. Stoops will now join the other 13 schools in the SEC who release coaching salaries making at least $3 million per season. Vanderbilt does not release that information, as it is a private school.
He could really make an emphatic statement by leading the team to victory tomorrow over the Missouri Tigers and Kentucky’s first bowl game since 2010.