By Dr. John Huang
Since Willie Taggart was fired as the head coach at Florida State, speculation has run rampant that Kentucky coach Mark Stoops would naturally be on the short list to take over that program. After all, Stoops spent two years as Jimbo Fisher’s defensive coordinator on those powerhouse Seminole teams earlier this decade. Wouldn’t he be chomping at the bit to return to his old stomping grounds?
It took all of three questions for Stoops to be asked about that possibility at his weekly press conference earlier today.
Stoops naturally deflected the question, choosing instead to focus on the Wildcats’ upcoming game against Tennessee.
Should he stay or should he go?
When considering different head coaching opportunities, it’s often helpful to list all the pros and cons.
The pros of a job such as Florida State over Kentucky include 1) more money 2) better weather 3) more tradition 4) better recruiting base 5) more chance to win in ACC 6) not playing second fiddle to basketball and 7) returning to a school that contended for a national championship while you were there as an assistant.
Here’s what it boils down to
As far as cons, there really aren’t any–so why should Stoops even consider staying at Kentucky?
I’ll tell you why. Sometimes life’s decisions involve more than just money. Everybody is different, but in Stoops’ particular case, I don’t think he gives a hoot whether he’s paid $4 million or $5 million. In fact, he said as much when asked what WAS important to him.
“That’s a pretty deep question there,” Stoops answered. “But that’s a fair assessment. You see me around the neighborhood. There’s a lot of things that factor into that. We don’t have enough time for me to dive into all of that right now, but certainly support (and) quality of life.”
Stoops has certainly gotten the support from the administration. Whether it’s been the recruiting room or practice facility or whatever else, Stoops has gotten everything he’s asked for.
As for quality of life, I’m not sure Stoops could have it any better. Raising a family here in beautiful central Kentucky is about as good as it gets. It’s even better when you have the added benefit of absolute job security and the support of your bosses at the university and the fans throughout the state.
UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart gave Stoops plenty of time to build this program as he wanted–year by year. He was loyal to a fault with Mark Stoops. If Mark Stoops is a loyal kind of guy–as I think he is–he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.