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How Mark Stoops’ connection with Alex Montgomery inspired him to take a stand

The Stoops family stands with Alex Montgomery on Senior Day in 2016 (via Chet White | UK Athletics)

The Stoops family stands with Alex Montgomery on Senior Day in 2016 (via Chet White | UK Athletics)

Since the Kentucky football team walked out of Thursday’s practice, the players and coaches have heard criticism for taking what some might consider a controversial stance. For Mark Stoops, he had no other choice.

Many stories have been shared between the football players since protests broke out across the country in March. It led to a march through Lexington orchestrated by Stoops, Vince Marrow and the rest of the Wildcat players over the summer. Yesterday they made another symbolic gesture by defiantly walking out of practice. These kinds of conversations are not new to Mark Stoops.

Today on Kentucky Sports Radio UK’s head football coach opened up about his relationship with one former player that’s unlike any other. Over the last five years, Alex Montgomery has been like a second son to Mark Stoops.

“Alex got hurt, got hurt again, was drifting away in school, was going to float away and I wouldn’t stand for it. I brought him in, I got close to him and I got to know him even more, I got to know him personally better and he was done playing. It would have been real easy for me to just turn over and go to the next guy,” Stoops said.

“He really had nowhere to go. He had no family. When he grew up, he woke up one morning and half his siblings were gone. His grandmother told him when he asked where his mother was, his grandmother told him, ‘Your mom didn’t want you.’ He has no one in this world. I’m his father and Chantel his mother.”

By taking in Alex, he’s grown closer to Stoops’ young sons. The stories Montgomery would share sometimes baffled Stoops. One night he needed to go pick up his girlfriend’s car. When Stoops suggested him walk to go get it, Alex responded:

“‘Are you crazy? You think I can walk through that neighborhood at 10 o’clock at night and get her car?’ This was way before any of this movement was going on. You start hearing that and you’re close to these kids and you realize the stories that they have, how can you not be affected by it? How can I relate to him if I don’t stand up with him right now?

That’s just one small example of the injustices Stoops has witnessed since inviting Montgomery into his family.

“To take it further, his girlfriend her family disowned her, why? Because she’s dating a black man,” Stoops said. “These are my kids. I’m quite sure I’ll walk her down the aisle. I don’t put up with this fake stuff, putting things on Twitter just to get a pat on the back. That is so not me. I purposely don’t so stuff because I don’t want to be viewed that way. This is personal. These are my people. These are people that I’m close to, that I love that are like family to me. To not make difference, to not stand with them is wrong.”

This story is just one of the many reasons Mark Stoops stands besides his players as they move to make positive change during a tumultuous time in our country.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

30 Comments for How Mark Stoops’ connection with Alex Montgomery inspired him to take a stand

  1. Irwin R. Fletcher
    12:14 pm August 28, 2020 Permalink

    Go Cats.

  2. bigblue98
    12:18 pm August 28, 2020 Permalink

    Was already thankful Coach Stoops was leading our program, but after listening to the show my respect for him has gone through the roof. As I thought yesterday and had affirmed during him talking, the walkout yesterday was not about one particular issue, but a myriad of issues, some of which our players have personally dealt with. A true sign of a leader is a person willing to walk in another person’s shoes. We have a true leader – thanks coach. Go Cats!

    • chardun20
      12:30 pm August 28, 2020 Permalink


    • satcheluk
      5:01 pm August 28, 2020 Permalink

      That’s right Bigblue! Empathy is the highest form of knowledge and in very short supply around here. Glad we have a leader who has enough to make up for others.

    • FirstTime58
      12:06 pm August 29, 2020 Permalink

      Never been more proud of you Coach. You are a man of honor.

    • crazycatfan65
      11:58 pm August 28, 2020 Permalink

      Have you or anyone else stopped to think that those “myriad of issues” are self inflected? Maybe if the black community would ditch the “F the police”, thug life etc. mentality, maybe all this crap wouldn’t be happening. You people do realize that when a cop receives a call on someone, they also get their so called rap sheet and other information bout the individual. If the “perp” is known to have been violent in the past, threatening with a gun etc. that is going to be in the back of the cops mind. 40% of all cop killers are black males.It may hurt a lot of liberals feeling but the media is the real enemy of this country. Police kill almost twice as many whites per year then blacks but you never hear the media report those killings. That is the REAL racial injustice. It’s time for the black community to start looking in the mirror and start excepting the blame for their own failures instead of always screaming racism.

    • njcat
      7:17 am August 30, 2020 Permalink

      So glad you have nothing to do with the program, and most likely zero authority in your life. You couldn’t be more clueless on this.

  3. PensacolaCat
    12:55 pm August 28, 2020 Permalink

    Is Sawyer Smith still on the team or did he graduate?

    • PensacolaCat
      12:55 pm August 28, 2020 Permalink

      Sorry, wrong article.

    • UKiyaoyas
      1:41 pm August 28, 2020 Permalink


  4. 2andToodleLoo
    12:55 pm August 28, 2020 Permalink

    I like my coach! A man who isn’t just about wins and losses. These aren’t just players to him. He’s developing men. And he doesn’t need to brag and boast to the media about it. I LIKE MY COACH!

  5. UK_fac_boi
    12:59 pm August 28, 2020 Permalink

    Go cats! Love my team!

  6. JTT15
    1:12 pm August 28, 2020 Permalink

    Blessed to have Coach and his family as part of our BBN family!

  7. UKiyaoyas
    1:43 pm August 28, 2020 Permalink

    I love my coach! Extremely proud of Coach Stoops.

  8. stringmusic78
    2:39 pm August 28, 2020 Permalink

    Great story! A lot of folks could learn from this starting with the BBN fans that have been commenting previous articles and criticizing players for taking a stand. It’s easy to let the hate foster in your heart but it takes a real man to get rid of it!

  9. Barry59
    3:42 pm August 28, 2020 Permalink

    Thanks Coach. We support you and the team. Go Cars

  10. Lyle Evans
    3:52 pm August 28, 2020 Permalink

    I love my coach and I love my team.

  11. satcheluk
    5:02 pm August 28, 2020 Permalink

    I’m happy to see the comments here aren’t full of racist trolls. Thank you for repairing my faith in BBN.

    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      8:21 pm August 28, 2020 Permalink

      I think some (not all) that you and others are calling racist are not, including me. I loved reading this about Stoops and if he’s a father figure to some who have no father, that is extremely heartwarming. That doesn’t mean I have to assume the cops in Kenosha are guilty until all the facts come out.

  12. UKInsider
    8:58 pm August 28, 2020 Permalink

    Stoops is a real person and class act. Love the guy.

  13. Nickerbocker05
    10:12 pm August 28, 2020 Permalink


  14. PensacolaCat
    1:29 am August 29, 2020 Permalink

    I like Stoops. I don’t agree with his politics but that’s ok. Honestly, his liberal beliefs are probably best for the program b/c that’s what the players want and can relate to. They’d cancel me in a heartbeat.

    • madarchitect
      11:33 am August 29, 2020 Permalink

      I know it may be a shocker to some, but Stoops is not being political. This is an issue of humanity. Everyone trying to make everything political is exactly what the party in power right now wants – to divide.

    • njcat
      7:27 am August 30, 2020 Permalink

      Standing up for people who are hurting is not political, but justifying continued oppression sure is. Jeez dude.

  15. BowdenQB4ever
    7:19 am August 29, 2020 Permalink

    So on one hand, it’s not safe to walk through black neighborhoods at night. On the other hand, this girls family is horribly racist because they don’t want her to marry into that community. Thank god our football team is standing up the the police.

    • BowdenQB4ever
      7:25 am August 29, 2020 Permalink

      I would also say, other than white people/countries who is actively helping black people? This case is particularly tough, because the mom will usually keep the child to ensure housing and benefits, but in the vast majority of black families the father is absent. Western nations are the only ones who would even consider diversity. I would think we could get some slack when things aren’t perfect, considering this is a new experiment in human history, from all the black athletes filling up college scholarships and cashing checks in the pros. Has any nation created more black wealth than the United States? If the 13% of the population that is black left and started their own nation they’d be the tenth wealthiest in the world- where exactly are our sins????

    • njcat
      7:25 am August 30, 2020 Permalink

      Terrible take. The problems in the black communities were caused by systemic racism over the past 200+ years. The biggest cause of absentee black fathers is because so many sit in prison for drug offenses, punishments that relatively few whites suffer for similar crimes.

      White people rigged the system and it’s on them to fix it.

  16. tybuki
    8:13 am August 29, 2020 Permalink

    BowdenQB4Ever most of what you said is complete gibberish.

  17. mrknowitall1981
    8:49 am August 30, 2020 Permalink

    crazycatfan65…you sir, are a flipping moron. It’s people like you that’s exactly what is wrong with this country. I’m embarrassed to know that you and I are fans of the same university and I’m sure Coach Stoops feels the same way.

  18. CatsDLegit
    9:09 am August 30, 2020 Permalink

    Go to this kids Facebook page and tell me if you think he’s still a good kid. Memes saying police lives don’t matter. Smh.