Stoops anxious to continue building program after agreeing to contract extension

Published 6:27 am Wednesday, December 1, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Mark Stoops is staying put.

The Kentucky football coach agreed in principle to a contract extension that will keep him on the Wildcat sidelines through June 2028, the school announced Tuesday. Three days ago UK ended the regular season with a 9-3 record and finished second in the SEC East for the first time since divisions were split in 1992.

Stoops will receive a one-year extension with seven wins in a given season and two years will be added with a 10-win campaign. He had been mentioned as a candidate for several coaching vacancies this season but has no plans of leaving Lexington anytime soon.

“I’m excited to continue to build this program to national prominence,” Stoops said. “We’re on our way and I’m more confident in Kentucky football than I’ve ever been. I thank President (Eli) Capilouto and Mitch Barnhart for their support. The continuity among us for the last nine years is extremely valuable and I’m looking forward to more success together.”

Stoops came to an agreement with Barnhart “a week or two ago” and said the two sealed the deal prior to Kentucky’s 52-21 win over rival Louisville Saturday night.

“(We) shook hands on it Saturday afternoon,” Stoops said. “This process is a compliment to our relationship.”

Under his guidance, Stoops has guided the Wildcats to five consecutive bowl appearances. The Wildcats have won three straight bowl games, including a 23-21 win over North Carolina State in the Gator Bowl last year.

Stoops is 58-53 and has compiled a 46-27 mark since opening with a 12-26 in his first 38 contests. He has coached in a school-record 111 games in his nine seasons.

“Coach Stoops has done an outstanding job in building the UK football program and we look forward to continued success under his leadership,” Barnhart said.

“Our football program, under coach Stoops, has only strengthened the commitment that we have as an institution to putting students first in everything that we do,” Capilouto said. “We are preparing our students for lives of meaning and purpose when they leave UK, no matter what path they take.”

Kentucky will learn of its postseason destination when bowl invitations are announced on Sunday.

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at Keith.taylor@kentuckytodaycom and via Twitter at keithtaylor21.