This season, Mark Stoops has started to receive the media attention he’s earned through nine season in Lexington.
With his Kentucky Wildcats off to a 5-0 start and coming off a big win over 10th-ranked Florida, national media is starting to realize how great of a coach he is.
Gene Chizik, a former Auburn Tigers head coach, knows quite a few things about being a successful coach at the SEC level. Currently an analyst for the SEC network, Chizik had some strong words regarding the respect Stoops and this program have earned.
“Mark Stoops is one of the best coaches in the country and if you don’t think that, your head is in the sand,” Chizik said following Saturday’s football games. “No, their wins aren’t always sexy, and they aren’t pretty, and I don’t care about all the statsheets. The only stat I care about is that they’re 5-0.
“Yes, the wins at times are ugly, but the bottom line is...what I love about this team, they’re all-in, and they find different ways to win.
“We, a lot of times, including myself, will pick them to lose. And shame on us when you think they don’t have a chance.
“I picked Florida. But this team is gritty and resilient, and Mark Stoops deserves a lot of credit.”
Stoops’ all-time record at UK now stands at 54-50. But since the 2016 season, he’s 37-26 and 23-22 in conference play. With five-straight bowl games and three-straight bowl wins, this program is now one that has demanded some respect from the national media, and wins like Saturday definitely help get that.
The phrase for the last several seasons of the Stoops era has been that they are building a program.
It’s safe to say now that a program has been built in Lexington, and one that’s setup for success for quite some time.