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Mike Stoops Named Inside Linebackers Coach at Kentucky

Mike Stoops, a 35-year collegiate coaching veteran who is the brother of head coach Mark Stoops, has been named the inside linebackers coach, UK announced today. He replaces Jon Sumrall, who was named the head coach at Troy University.

Mike Stoops (Photo by FAU Athletics)

The Stoops brothers reunite in Lexington after having previously worked together at Arizona from 2004-09 when Mike was the head coach and Mark the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. They also spent the 1991 season together at Iowa when Mike was the linebackers and defensive backs coach and Mark was a graduate assistant.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to coach with Mike again,” Mark Stoops said. “Mike was instrumental in my early development as a coach, as I learned a lot from him at Arizona. He has a wealth of experience as a head coach, coordinator and position coach. I look forward to having him contribute to the staff at Kentucky.”

Mike Stoops most recently was at Florida Atlantic where he spent the 2021 season as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach. Prior to that he spent two seasons (2019 and 2020) at Alabama as an analyst on Nick Saban’s staff, highlighted by the 2020 national championship. He also was the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Oklahoma from 2012-18 and was the head coach at Arizona from 2004-11. He had a first term at Oklahoma from 1999-2003, including the 2000 national championship season.

"I want to thank everyone at the University of Kentucky for this exciting opportunity to coach inside linebackers,” Mike Stoops said. “Mark, his staff, and these players have accomplished a great deal, while competing in the Southeastern Conference, to put the Kentucky football program on the map. I’m looking forward to working with Coach (Brad) White on defense and contributing to the development and success of our players and team. Go Cats!" 

Wherever he’s been, Stoops has put together dominant defenses and he has coached some of best players in college football. In 2001, linebacker Rocky Calmus was the winner of the Butkus Award (best linebacker). In 2003, Oklahoma defensive backs Roy Williams and Derrick Strait became the only players to win both the Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player) and Thorpe Award (best defensive back) in the same season. That same year, Sooner defensive tackle Tommie Harris won the Lombardi Award, while linebacker Teddy Lehman won both the Butkus Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award (best defensive player). In 2007, Arizona cornerback Antoine Cason was the Thorpe Award winner.

During his head coaching tenure at Arizona, Mike Stoops won 41 games and posted 84 program records in seven-plus seasons. The Wildcats went to three consecutive bowl games from 2008-10, posting winning records in each of those campaigns. In 2009, Arizona went 8-5 overall and finished second with a 6-3 mark in the Pac-10 with a bid to the Holiday Bowl.

In his 35 years of coaching, Stoops has coached in 28 bowl games and coached over 40 players in the NFL.

Mike Stoops, like Mark, played college football as a safety at Iowa. Mike earned United Press International First Team All-America honors in 1984. He also was a two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection in 1983-84, and led the Big Ten in interceptions in 1983, totaling six in nine games. After graduation, he went on to play in the National Football League as a defensive back with the Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Iowa in 1986 before later moving to Kansas State from 1992-98.

Stoops, 61, graduated from Iowa in 1987. He and his wife, Erin, have a daughter, Payton and two sons, Colton and Ozzy.

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