Say it out loud: “Mark Stoops is the longest tenured coach in the SEC East.” Weird, right? It’s kind of hard to believe. When Stoops heard it today he was taken aback.
“Is that right? Wow. That’s scary. I don’t get shocked in here too often.”
A division that was once dominated by coaching legends like Spurrier, Fullmer and Richt has been flipped on its head. Spurrier and Fullmer’s former employers cut ties with their head coaches in the middle of the 2017 season.
After only five years, Stoops has outlasted all of his Eastern Division peers. Derek Mason is next in line after four years at Vanderbilt.
Stoops believes the initial support has helped create stability within the program.
“I greatly appreciate the support that when I got here, it was going to take a great commitment from a lot of people. We’ve been given that. The fans, the media and the administration, we’re all in this together. It’s a tough grind and continuity is important. We also understand that we have expectations to meet. It’s challenging, but that’s what makes it such a great league and so competitive. That’s why we’re here, that’s why I’m here. It’s a great challenge but it’s something you embrace each and everyday.”