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Stoops Introduction Reflects Passion and Commitment to UK Football

Photo credit: Regina Rickert (@acrphoto)


This afternoon’s introduction of Mark Stoops as Kentucky’s new head football coach couldn’t have been done any better. You could tell that it took a lot of preparation and hard work by the athletics department to put the event together, but at the same time, it wasn’t too much. The band, cheerleaders, decorations, and of course the fans who showed up at Nutter Fieldhouse and at the airport made Coach Stoops feel welcome, and showed that the University and Big Blue Nation does, in fact, care deeply about football. There was not too much fan fare, as there was for the arrival of Billy Gillispie at Memorial Coliseum, but there was just enough of it that there needed to be. Coach Stoops was not overwhelmed with it, but appeared comfortable, confident, excited, and ready to get to work.

The well-done introduction showed our current players, future players, potential coaching staff, and the Stoops family that Kentucky is a great place to be. Most of all, it showed the fans’ and administration’s interest, level of commitment, and desire to win in football. Even though attendance dropped tremendously this past season, interest in the program did not. What we have seen over the course of  the season and through the coaching search is that people didn’t stop caring about the UK football program even through the lowest of lows. Many fans stopped attending games, perhaps as protest for change, but the 2-10 season didn’t stop fans from calling into KSR and visiting the blog in very high numbers to read, complain, listen about, leave angry comments, cry, bicker, call in, laugh, and gripe about the football team. 

An angry fan base is better than an apathetic one. Big Blue Nation never stopped caring, and as a result, I believe that passion helped bring Mark Stoops to a place starving for consistent football success. Even as the start of basketball season came following a National Championship, the UK football coaching search remained the No. 1 topic of conversation in UK sports on radio, on the web, and on social media. The myth that UK fans do not care about football has been put to rest, and the support and interest of the team next year could be as high as ever before. If you ever doubt how important fan support is to a head coach, look no further than Cincinnati’s Butch Jones, who is likely to leave behind a winning program largely due to the fact that nobody in that school’s city cares about it. That is not the case here at Kentucky, and it’s been proven over the course of this past season here at KSR.

Give yourselves a pat on the back, Kentucky fans, Mitch Barnhart, Tim Couch, and all who helped bring Mark Stoops to Kentucky.

Article written by John Wilmhoff

Former beer vendor, college mascot and ESPN editor. This spring, you can also find me blogging about the Reds on Follow me on Twitter: @JohnWilmhoff

16 Comments for Stoops Introduction Reflects Passion and Commitment to UK Football

  1. First
    9:40 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    Is that Joker shaking hands with him?

  2. Charlie Strong
    9:49 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    Sob, sob, I can’t believe we have to play Florida. That’s why I don’t want to take the Tennessee or Auburn job – I don’t want to play that tough competition. Sob, sob, I mean we beat Rutgers, doesn’t that count? And UConn is tougher than you think. Sob, sob, maybe I will take another job so I won’t be embarrassed by Florida. This isn’t fair! Where’s Jurich? Tom, do something. This isn’t right. Why couldn’t we play Northern Illinois?

  3. blueaville
    10:07 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    #1 stupid comment. racist

  4. Charlie Strong
    10:08 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    I started to call somebody at UK for some hints on how to beat FLORIDA but . . . . But . . . Wait, has it REALLY BEEN 27 HUMILATING YEARS AND COUNTING???? No way!! NO WAY SOMEONE CAN LOSE TO A TEAM 27 YEARS IN A ROW, CAN THEY??? Hahahahahahahahahahahah!!.,

  5. The Real Charlie Strong
    10:13 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t want to play Florida. This isn’t fair. I will never get another recruit from Florida after they beat our jackasses. Maybe we will forfeit the game and use the excuse that the players need to study. Darn, I can’t do that – school will be out. Maybe I can use the excuse that it will interfere with our family’s Christmas. Darn, I can’t do that either. Like a light bulb, I really am screwed. Darn you Jurich!

  6. UK Freshmen
    10:17 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    Even though attendance dropped tremendously, interest did not?? I laughed out loud to that backsaw ward conclusion. I guess attendance dropped due to armed guards at the gates. Or mabe wild tigers. Maybe fans chose to downhill ski on the slopes of Nicholasville. I know, there was a flu bug every Saturday in Lexington. Too funny.

    10:25 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    I OWN YOU KENTUCKY! The Joke was my friend so I didn’t hang 70 points on you . . So until you beat me, STFU. Nuff said. Period.

  8. duh
    10:28 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    @5 maybe you could say you can’t play because you are taking English lessons

  9. lawnornament
    10:30 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    It does look like Joker, actually. But it would have been way
    more fun if it had been Tubby Smith.

  10. Charlie Strong
    10:32 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    But I don’t want to play Florida…sob, sob

  11. Earl
    10:50 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    3… is that racist?

  12. JudgeSmails
    10:51 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    Not counting this year, we have reguarly been top 25 in attendance and travel as well as any team in the country to support our football Cats. Give us a reason to hope and there’s not many as loyal as BBN football fans, even with mediocre teams.

  13. Joker324
    10:52 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    Lamp! I love lamp.

  14. jake the snake
    10:54 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    We’ve got a lot of catching up to do. WKU going bowling this year for the first time. Who would’ve thunk it?

  15. UKBlue
    11:01 pm December 2, 2012 Permalink

    Unless Coach Stoops is totally full of shit, Barnhart should be put in jail because he just stole a great coach away from other schools.

    He sure is no Charlie Strong, we can understand the words coming out of coach Stoops mouth.

  16. FelixTheCat
    9:10 am December 3, 2012 Permalink

    #1—— Shaking hands with Felix Wilson. Late 70’s era wide receiver.