Stoops regrets timing of contract announcement; The coach said the deal was reached when Kentucky was on a winning streak

Published 3:40 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2022

KEITH TAYLOR

Kentucky Today

Mark Stoops doesn’t regret signing a contact extension, but wishes the timing of the agreement could have been better for both parties.

The Kentucky football coach signed the deal that will run through the 2030 season and expires in June, 2031. He will receive a raise that increases to $8.65 million beginning in February. The extension wasn’t made public or released to the media, but records show it was signed on Nov. 11, the day before his team’s 24-21 loss to Vanderbilt. His buyout will change from $1.75 million to $4.5 million and decrease by $500,000 at the end of each season he remains at the helm.

“It was agreed upon, when things were really good, but obviously I feel bad for Mitch (Barnhart) and Dr. (Eli) Capilouto in not doing my part, truthfully. After that game (Vanderbilt), believe me, I better just stop there. I felt very bad about that loss and some of the parts of the season.”

Stoops said he has no plans of leaving anytime soon although he has received interest from other programs.

“I’m committed to this place and have been,” he said. “This is my home. This is the place that I’ve helped build to this point. Do we want more? Yes. I think we want to continue to grow.

“Dr. Capilouto expects more. Mitch expects more, and I do, and I want to continue to build, continue to have the continuity, and I want to improve. There’s a lot of people that would like to have the stability that we have had. And there’s a lot of people that would, much like us, be driven to compete at higher levels as well.”

Stoops, the second-longest tenured coach in the Southeastern Conference behind Alabama’s Nick Saban, will close out the first decade of his tenure when the Wildcats (6-5, 3-5 SEC) take on instate rival Louisville (7-4) Saturday at Kroger Field.

Kentucky also will make a school-record seventh-straight postseason appearance. Stoops surpassed Paul “Bear” Bryant earlier this season to become the program’s all-time winningest coach. Stoops said he’s had overtures from other schools.

“I don’t like to disrespect any school or anybody or anything,” he said. “I think with the work that we’ve done here, I think it goes without … I don’t need to say anything. There’s a lot of people over the years that have inquired. I really don’t push that. I’m in season. I’m committed to my players. I’m committed to this place and I’ve never strayed five minutes from that.”