The former Texas A&M Athletic Director Ross Bjork recently spoke about the situation that happened with Mark Stoops, where he almost left to become the next head coach at Texas A&M.
Since that sage took place, Bjork has been named the newest Athletic Director for Ohio State, while Stoops decided to stay at Kentucky for his 12th year in a row.
After the Kentucky vs. Louisville game in November, there were reports that Stoops would become the next head coach at Texas A&M, but that quickly changed, and Stoops decided to stay at Kentucky.
After that night, Texas A&M then hired former Duke head coach Mike Elko, who replaced Jimbo Fisher after he got fired. After the hiring of Elko, Bjork shortly left the Aggies to become the new AD of Ohio State. Bjork was asked on Wednesday what happened with the new search of a coach and if Stoops was ever a choice.
“The athletic director and the team, whatever that may look like, we run a search process,” Bjork said in a recent interview. “We make recommendations to the President. ‘I would like to hire this person,’ or, ‘I think this is the No. 1 candidate.’ That’s how it works in every institution. No athletic director has the full autonomy to say, ‘I’m absolutely going to hire this person, and no one else is involved.’ That’s where it goes back to alignment. That’s where it goes back to process and communication.”
“So how that name got out there, of course, he was a candidate, but we didn’t hire him. We hired Mike Elko, and Mike Elko is a great coach, and we’re gonna meet them in the playoffs because he’s going to build it, so at the end of the day, who did you hire and how did you get there? That’s what matters the most. So searches in today’s world are really, really probably unrealistic in terms of because of social media, because of plane tracking, because of whatever. And so that’s what you have to do is just go through a process and pick the right person, and that’s what we did.”
Although Stoops was not hired, it sounded like it was very close to happening. Since then, former Alabama football head coach Nick Saban has officially retired, making Stoops the longest-tenured SEC football head coach going into his 12th year.