Mark Stoops made his first public appearance of the offseason today on Kentucky Sports Radio radio, the day after news broke that he had his offensive coordinator, coincidentally. Stoops cannot publicly comment on the position until it is officially filled, but KSR did get him to open up about potential hires, particularly one offensive coordinator at West Virginia.
Stoops also discussed the disappointing finish in his second season and what he expects moving forward. You can read a rundown of his comments below and the entire interview is embedded at the very bottom for your listening pleasure.
He took his time finding his new offensive coordinator and was amazed by the interest in the job.
Stoops said he took a step back and evaluated his first two years in Lexington before really pursuing his next offensive coordinator. He was amazed by the interest in the job but he wanted to narrow down exactly what he wanted from the position before fielding any calls.
“It’s different now than it was two years ago when I took this job,” he said. “There was quite a few people who were interested. Once again, I just took a step back, evaluated things and thought about what I wanted and where we wanted to go.”
He “wholeheartedly” believes in the Air Raid.
“The roots of whatever you want to call it — Air Raid or Hal Mumme or Mike Leach — there’s a lot of good coaches and a lot of branches off of that and I think that is important to me,” Stoops told KSR. “Ultimately, some of the guys I talked to had roots back to that system, back to Hal Mumme and back to Leach.”
Stoops said he “absolutely” agrees with that system. “That’s why I hired Neal.”
“I think we need it here to win games and I’m here to win games.”
The offensive coordinator needs to be a leader.
Stoops was looking for someone to lead, someone who can stand in front of the offense and make the players believe in him. He wanted someone with strength and toughness who can take charge of the team.
Consistency is also key in the new hire. He didn’t want to bring someone in with a brand new philosophy for the entire staff and all of the players to learn.
“I didn’t want to take a step back by bringing someone in and completely changing our style.”
He has great respect for West Virginia’s offensive coordinator.
Since Stoops can’t mention Shannon Dawson directly, Matt asked what he thought of West Virginia’s offense. Stoops couldn’t help but laugh when he said he has great respect for West Virginia’s offensive coordinator.
He was pleased with Patrick Towles but the job will be open in the spring.
All positions will be open entering next season, including starting quarterback.
“I love it here.”
Stoops raved about how he’s been treated by the administration and the fans and he plans to be here a long time, even if he has a solid Year 3 next season and calls start coming in.
He understands there was frustration with how the season ended and he was equally as frustrated as the fans.
“When I told you ‘We’re just getting started bro,’ I really meant we’re just getting started.”
Listen to the entire interview: