The Nutter Field House was filled with anxious excitement today as Mark Stoops was officially announced and welcomed as the new University of Kentucky head football coach. The press conference felt more like a pep rally due to an abundance of fans in addition to the band, dance team, cheerleaders, mascots and current football players. Stoops’s first words after walking through the big blue crowd were “So this is what the Big Blue Nation is all about.”
During his press conference, Mark Stoops said that he initially approached Athletic Director, Mitch Barnhart, about the head coaching position. Stoops accepted the job even though today was his first day on UK’s campus. With the help of former UK football star, Tim Couch, Stoops said it was a “no-brainer” to take the head coaching position. Stoops is under a contract with the university for five years with a base value of $11 million.
“We’ve got the greatest fans in all of college sports and the most passionate fan-base around. And you deserve a football program that competes at a championship level and that’s what we’ve hired this guy to do,” Barnhart said, introducing Stoops. Stoops says he is a “meat and potatoes” kind of guy. He is excited to meet all the players tomorrow and get started but said that it is going to take everyone’s help and effort to get the program going. He expects Commonwealth Stadium to be filled every weekend.
Stoops will not be coaching FSU in its upcoming bowl game but said he would help them during the down time that he has in preparing for the game. His comment “especially if they (Seminoles) play Louisville” got everyone in Nutter on their feet cheering. “I’m a part of the Big Blue Nation now,” Stoops said.
The lingering question that was left unanswered after the press conference was; who is going to join Stoops on the coaching staff? Stoops would not comment on who exactly he is looking at but he said he is going to conduct interviews with coaching prospects. Stoops also said that he is absolutely considering former and current members of the UK football coaching staff.
After the press conference, it is obvious that the Big Blue Nation is anxious and excited about the 2013 football season.