When Mark Stoops was hired to take over the Kentucky Wildcats football program, it was a complete rebuild.
Now, after nine seasons in Lexington, he has built a contending program and become one of the hottest names among the college coaching ranks. So much so that he was recently ranked as a top 15 coach in the sport.
Brad Crawford of 247 Sports released an article this week that ranked the top coaches in the sport, and Stoops made the cut. Coming in at No. 12 on Crawford’s top 15 ranking, Stoops is ranked ahead of James Franklin of Penn State, Matt Campbell of Iowa State, and Kirk Ferentz of Iowa.
Here is what Crawford had to say about Stoops:
“When you’ve won at the level Mark Stoops has at Kentucky, you get noticed. There’s a season he was rumored to be in the mix for LSU’s opening and several others during the 2021 coaching carousel. He pushed the distractions aside and won 10 games for the second time in four years at a program that saw very little success prior to his arrival. Considering he’s recruiting against the likes of Tennessee, Georgia and Florida in his own division, what Stoops has been able to do with the Wildcats is head-turning. And now, Kentucky has a top-15 class for the first time in program history coming in.”
Stoops now as a head coach has a 59-53 record, and he just locked up his second 10-win season in the last four years. Not to mention the level he is recruiting at is flirting with that tier below the powerhouses of the sport.
Put those two together, and it’s obvious to see why bigger programs are trying to lure him away from UK.
Hanging onto Stoops this offseason was huge. It doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t ever leave, but it does show that he is locked into the future of Kentucky football and helping lead the program to the next step in its development.
In the meantime, one of the best head coaches in the country resides in Lexington. If he can continue to recruit and develop at the rate he has been, don’t be shocked to see his name moved into the top 10 before long.