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Why is Mark Stoops’ Leash Shorter than Rich Brooks’ Leash?

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There aren’t many things more informative about Kentucky Wildcats football than following our own Freddie Maggard on Twitter. When I see Fred admit that there was a perspective that even he had not thought of, I like to take note. Thanks to UK fan Chuck, @AllinUKFan, for pointing out something that I think we all need to remember.

Let’s take a look at the first three seasons under Rich Brooks and the first three seasons under Mark Stoops:

Rich Brooks was 9-25 through his first three years as the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats.

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There may have been some rumblings, but fans and administration kept the faith. The following year for Rich Brooks started with a loss at Louisville, making him 9-26 through three years plus one game. However, he went on to lead the team to an 8-5 record that season, winning the 2006 Music City Bowl over the Clemson Tigers.

Mark Stoops was 12-24 through his first three seasons as Kentucky’s head coach.

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This year started with last night’s loss to Southern Miss, moving Stoops’ record to 12-25 through three seasons plus one game. After last night, any rumblings from the first three years have become outright cries for change.

Now, I want to make it very clear that I am not trying to condone what happened last night, because for an SEC program, it should never happen. However, given the situation that both coaches inherited, don’t you think that the leash for Mark Stoops should be a little longer than Rich Brooks’ leash was?

Brooks took over after Guy Morriss led the Wildcats to a 7-5 season. Morriss left UK for Baylor, and Rich Brooks was named head coach. The team won 4 games the next season, followed by 2 wins and then 3. Stoops took over after Joker Phillips coached a 2-10 season. The team won 2 games the following season, followed by 5 wins and then 5 wins again. Neither went to a bowl game in their first three seasons, so why can’t Mark Stoops do the same thing Rich Brooks did in his fourth season and beyond?

Just some food for thought. Let us know what you think in the comment section.

Article written by Brett Bibbins

Graduate of the University of Kentucky in 2015. Spend my free time watching sports, The Office or Harry Potter. Three-word phrases to live by: For The Kids and Cats by 90 @BrettBibbinsKSR

52 Comments for Why is Mark Stoops’ Leash Shorter than Rich Brooks’ Leash?

  1. GroundControlToNumber9
    10:09 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

    This isn’t about Stoops anymore (good try though). This is about Mitch Barnhart.

    UK Athletics can’t sustain another failed selection from him. 14 years of failure.

    • ukkatzfan
      11:14 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

      Cal was such a bad choice. How will we ever forgive Mitch for hiring him ?

    • STEVE!
      11:18 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

      That’s exactly right. It doesn’t matter if Brooks is fired as long as Barnhart is AD, because it will be his responsibility to hire Brooks’ replacement.

    • cats paw
      5:27 am September 5, 2016 Permalink

      or maybe that Stoops was hired as an unproven coach when we knew what Brooks was capable of producing!! we are betting 3.5 mill/yr that Stoops can learn to coach one day! he’s has us dead last in the conference in defense every year here….the only reason he was hired.

    • cats paw
      5:49 am September 5, 2016 Permalink

      since a first year coach from southern miss can take an under talented team on the road and beat down a 4th yr SEC coach….i imagine he will be Bear Bryant in a couple years!

    • plumloopy
      6:15 pm September 5, 2016 Permalink

      Like it or not, UK went to five straight bowl games between 2006-2010, winning three of them. They may not have been high prestige, but they certainly look like “success” right now. I don’t think you can say “14 years of failure.”

  2. E Cat
    10:11 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

    One difference is UK was on probation when Brooks took over. He was saddled with some pretty tough scholarship reductions. Stoops has been able to recruit a full allotment.

    That said, the talent level was so thin under Joker that it was similar to being on probation. But Stoops has had the chance to rebuild quicker than Brooks.

    Barring something like a 1- or 2-win season, Stoops has all of this season and next to right the ship and save his job.

    • truBLU
      10:27 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

      Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • smokindave
      10:52 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

      Excellent point. I don’t recall Rich getting 2 raises/contract extensions in his first 3 years either. The same Mitch that rewards mediocrity these days, let Morris go because he wouldn’t pay the assistants what Morris wanted. Petty. Brooks bailed Mitch out of a mess of his own making. Then Rich retired-and Mitch created another one. From a fan perspective, this crap gets old quick.

  3. ukwildcat1991
    10:12 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

    since i am in the U.S. Navy all i wanted was a win against southern miss. im heading out for deployment really soon and this would be the only game i would get to see for the rest of the year. you can count basketball too. like i said, all i wanted was a win and i couldn’t even get that. this will be a long underway. Maybe its a good thing that i will be underwater on a sub so i dont have to deal with this season.

    • ukkatzfan
      11:17 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

      So, this sounds your problem is caused by Obama and your choice of the Navy. Why are you blaming Stoops ?

    • RealCatsFan
      9:06 am September 5, 2016 Permalink

      Ukwildcat, thank you for your service to our country. It’s a shame that the commenter before me failed to do that, and instead acted like a douchebag and used your post to make a half assed (and ridiculous) political statement. Be safe, keep the faith, and keep hoping that someday we hire a real football coach who actually knows what he is doing.

  4. Bobbum Man
    10:15 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Well I hate to say it but while I don’t think it should be longer I agree he has this year and probably next as well. Contract and everything aside, who exactly could we get? Sure if a big name coach comes along and shows interest they should do their best to jump all over it, but he’s getting talent here, new facilities etc. it’s not an overnight fix like basketball was with Cal. Stoops absolutely has to get better, no doubt about it. But I do still truly think we’re heading in the right direction, albeit a little slower than I think all of us would like

    • shelby
      11:14 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

      There is only one name if UK is dumb enough to make a new hire: Jeff Brohm at WKU.

  5. shelby
    10:16 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Ur preaching to the choir; I’ve said the same thing for 3 years. Joker Philips systematically dismantled everything rich brooks built: we were a bad high school team when coach stoops was hired. This is a 6-year rebuild–no less. The people that expected a bowl game last year are complete idiots. People expecting a bowl game this year aren’t much better. I’m not upset about last night’s loss, I’m upset about the way we lost. Only player maturity and continued player development will solve this puzzle. I’m pissed that some jackass scheduled so miss and not some pathetic opponent like the Tards had in charlotte. We play charlotte, or the equivalent, and we’re 1-0 right now.

    • eyebleedblue
      10:19 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

      Yeah, one has to wonder about scheduling the winner of another conference. The SEC schedule is enough for us. We need 3 cupcakes, not 2 as long as we are allowed to do it.

    • DennyC
      11:19 am September 5, 2016 Permalink

      Barney scheduled SM when they were 0-12!!!! He tried for 3 CUPCAKES to try to buy a Bowl season and got burned! Smh…. Pitiful!!!!!!

  6. eyebleedblue
    10:17 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

    It’s pretty simple the difference in the 2 coaches.
    Brooks made 4 bowls in his last 6 years at Oregon including a Rose Bowl. He had improved a non football school to a 9 win team.
    Stoops was 0-0 as a head coach before here. There is no evidence he can win more than 5 games.

    • ukkatzfan
      11:22 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

      I liked your comment by accident. And what conference is Oregon? If Stoops was coaching Oregon, the bowl would now be called the Stoops Troops Rose Bowl.

    • brothermichigan
      2:01 pm September 5, 2016 Permalink

      ukkatzfan, I assume your comment is referring to the whole “SEC superiority” delusion, but there’s one major flaw with that line of thinking: UK didn’t just lose to an SEC team, they lost to Southern Miss. Badly (despite what the score shows.) Stoops has trouble beating the bad teams, let alone the good ones.

  7. huck
    10:19 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

    I was and am a Brooks fan – back when some were calling for his head I remember that the players loved him.

    What do the players think of our yip-yapper coach now?

    I’m not sure boopsy stoopsy can get it done, as a head coach.

  8. John
    10:19 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Like #2 states it was during probation. Brooks did not get $30 million dollars worth of renovations and additions. Brooks dud not have overrated recruiting classes. Stoops has spent his capital. Stoops may have been a good coordinator, but his coaching and in game adjustments stink. Dawson out coached his apologetic a**. Stoops to the media: I apologize that I got out coached by my former oc and a former FCS Coach. Fire Barnfart, you got the 12 million dollar buyout. Make Cal AD and go get a real football coach. It’s time for John Ray of the 21st century to go. STOOPS FOLLIES.

    • shelby
      11:02 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

      Renovations and practice field were completed THIS year–u won’t the see the results of that on the field for 4 years or more for crying out loud–Do u honestly think having a new practice facility will help this year’s team?? That’s ridiculous.
      Here’s the biggest question: Fire stoops and who n the hell do u think ur gonna get?? Mark stoops is HIGHLY respected in this game by his peers: he was handed the keys to a laughing stock football program thanks to joker Philips. The fact that we won 5 games the past two years is a miracle. We didn’t play Charlotte last night, we played a REAL football team!!

  9. Kat 308
    10:43 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

    I’m not going to get into a long post or debate. But I will say that loss sucked, but I am still behind Stoops. STOOPS TROOPS

  10. KYcats11
    10:44 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Judging by how terrible our defense last night was, I have to think firing eliot would be the way to go. But if you think about it, how much control does eliot even have over the defense, I feel like its mostly stoop calling the plays on that side of the ball. If it wasn’t stoops calling the plays on D, I would have to think that stoops would be smart enough to have fired eliot a long time ago. However, I am a supporter of stoops no matter what for this season and the next. I can easilly find 6 reasonable wins on our schedule this year. GO CATS!!

  11. DelrayCat
    10:53 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

    The difference is simple. The likability factor. Brooks had it, Stoops doesn’t. Papa Brooks also had credibility from past success. Stoops was a rookie head coach with no past success to draw on except his last name and a stint at FSU which gets premier talent no matter who is the coach. Honestly, Stoops has very little personality and is a poor spokesperson for the state.
    He has been in over his head since Day 1.

    • shelby
      11:07 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

      Wrong! Mark stoops took over an absolute dumpster fire and took that dung heap to the brink of bowl eligibility in one season—who u gonna hire to do better??? This is a 6-year rebuild–MINIMUM!!

  12. cayts23
    11:10 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

    If UK fired Stoops I honestly don’t know who they could get that would make everything better. Charlie Strong maybe he does well when there is no major expectations like Uof L but his Texas team just gave up a 31-14 lead against Notre Dame. I’ve heard Les Miles but is he that good, his school is in a primary location for really good recruits also he had Odell Beckham Jr., Jeremy Hill, and Jarvis Landry on the same team and finished with the 85th total offense that season.

    • DelrayCat
      11:53 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

      You did see the final score right?
      Compare that with the Collapse in Commonwealth last night where UK scored how many points in the second half????

    • cayts23
      12:24 am September 5, 2016 Permalink

      I posted that at the beginning of the 4th quarter before they came back. I do believe Charlie is a better coach than Stoops but I doubt he will make us that much better in the SEC East, at Louisville they had Bridgewater, Clint Hurt recruiting for him, and an easy conference. Goes to a big boy school and starts 12-14 and his teams were terrible in the 2nd half last year. It also doesn’t matter if any of these guys get fired cause Barnhart is sticking with Stoops.

  13. gcat4496
    11:22 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Do you realize that Western Ky University has a better program than Kentucky. They manhandled Southern Miss last year.

  14. KevinM
    11:28 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Stoops will have to dump Elliot to save his own hide. So far, his decision making has been far less than stellar.

    Stops should never see a Year 6

  15. ukkatzfan
    11:34 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

    It is good to see that some see this as a 6 yr rebuild. I am 100 % behind Stoops. I am not enough of a historian to know about the Bear at UK. But I truly believe Stoops can be at least the best since if not better than Bear. Florida beat the football power called UMass yesterday. We seen that Drew can make for a very nice QB, our WR can catch the ball, our defense can intercept a ball and we know we are deep in the backfield with Jojo, Boom and company. That first half was fun. I did’t have espnu to see the game. But i do have CBS to see next Saturday’s game. Just think…..wouldn’t it be nice. You gotta believe.

    • KYcats11
      12:06 am September 5, 2016 Permalink

      Totally agree with you. I was at the game, the first half atmosphere was electrifying, but as USM started to score in bunches the crowd started pouring out of CWS with more than a quarter to go. Y’all have to understand it doesn’t take just players and coaches to build a program. When things go downhill, be there for the team. They need all 61,00 of us there for all 60:00 minutes each and every saturday.

  16. ronnie78
    11:57 pm September 4, 2016 Permalink

    Every coach since John Ray has won at least six games in their first four seasons. There’s no reason to expect less. Western Kentucky has beaten UK twice and built a better program out of nothing. The biggest reason UK football will always be bad is the tolerance for incompetence you see in this thread,

    • cayts23
      12:32 am September 5, 2016 Permalink

      Says the guy who was to incompetent to notice he used a comma to end a sentence instead of a period.

    • skatdaddy
      12:57 am September 5, 2016 Permalink

      I would suggest checking your own grammar before commenting about grammar! It should read TOO incompetent, not TO!

    • cayts23
      1:39 am September 5, 2016 Permalink

      Calm your ass down skatdaddy this isn’t about you.

    • skatdaddy
      2:25 am September 5, 2016 Permalink

      You really should have used a comma after skatdaddy.

    • cayts23
      3:16 am September 5, 2016 Permalink

      It’s fine. You seem nice skatdaddy, enjoy the season, and keep your ear to the grindstone.

  17. 72uksprinter
    12:45 am September 5, 2016 Permalink

    Don’t know why fans are upset.
    Our team accomplished something impossible.
    You cannot lose a football game at any level with that lead and those halftime stats.
    Soooo many questions.
    Unless I missed one, we used just two of our highly touted running backs and severely UNDERUSED our feature back.
    Tight ends? Conrad got two targets before ending up in the doghouse.
    Tough decisions coming up.
    Fatt Elam is a bust. Admit it, move on.
    Who WANTS to play the game [email protected], leave it ALL on the field and concentrate on their assignments more than their armbands?
    Monday morning is Labor Day.
    All players not fired with enthusiasm will soon be.

  18. BluKudzu
    8:36 am September 5, 2016 Permalink

    Brooks leash was there, maybe you forgot the pressure he received to make changes with his OC. (The guy that had Lorenzen running an option.) Brooks said “If he goes, I go.”
    He either removed his good friend from the OC position or he resigned not much longer after that. Then UK started the turnaround.
    So, in reality the leash was there, and I think, if anything, the leash has been very long with Stoops due to Barnharts handling of the contract, etc,.
    One thing is valid, we have no defense. We are no better than a mid level MAC, or maybe even OVC team right now, maybe not even that good, based on our past performance,
    against Southern Miss, Vanderbilt, and others.
    Just one more thing, Southern Mississippi’s OC Dawson is not such a genious as everybody thinks he is. With all things being remotely close to equal; If you can’t beat Eliot’s defense, you should be fired.
    I think those that are satisfied with the performance of the program under Stoops, or those that want it to go 6 years, are not fans of UK football, in fact, if their opinions are genuine, they have zero knowledge about the mess we are in.
    Right now, under Barnhart’s long leash, this program is in shambles, due to Stoops mismanagement and loyalty to friends he has kept on his staff.
    We can blame Stoops, all day long, but it was Barnhart that hired this guy and loaded his contract.

    • Booby Petrino
      9:57 am September 5, 2016 Permalink

      Mitchell? As is Matthew Mitchell? The guy who has made UK women’s basketball more successful than it ever has been? You lost me there.

    • Booby Petrino
      9:58 am September 5, 2016 Permalink

      *in, As in

    • BluKudzu
      11:42 am September 5, 2016 Permalink

      Based on the mass exodus of players from last year and lost commitments, I think he fits, in that group verry well. Highly compensated, but apparently never there. Yeah, he built it, and he burned it to the ground.

  19. DennyC
    11:25 am September 5, 2016 Permalink

    I see a lot of whining that UK should have played a cupcake 1st game so they would only have to beat 3 weak teams to make a bowl. Mitch scheduled SM when they were 0-12 folks! They turned their program around in 4 years and look where UK is in year Four! Smh… P-I-T-I-F-U-L-!

  20. jayiron11
    12:19 pm September 5, 2016 Permalink

    Papa Brooks. Lol. Get out of here. Let’s not forget that it was Papa Brooks who appointed Joker as Head Coach in waiting before Papa Brooks retired. Papa Brooks may have taken us to a few bowls, but he is also responsible for the Joker debacle. Anointing a head coach in waiting like we are Florida State and Papa Brooks was Bobby Bowden or something and like Joker as Jumbo Fisher.
    I am so tired of the embarrassing comments from the embarrassing portion of the BBN fan base. 98% of these people commenting have no concept of football. Why isn’t Stoop playing the full court press? Stoops Troops, 40-0. Forty and 0!

  21. hartlines left arm
    1:49 pm September 5, 2016 Permalink

    A lot of people here forget that Brooks was on the verge of being run out of town till we went bowling. Not to mention that it wasn’t player improvement or coaching that final got us to a bowl but scheduling weaker opponents. Smoke and mirrors nothing more

  22. 206Bones
    2:20 pm September 5, 2016 Permalink

    I will say one thing for Stoops, he sure talks a good preseason game! Who is pumped!!

  23. UKBlue1
    2:21 pm September 5, 2016 Permalink

    We’re almost forced to give Stoops more time because he is virtually doing a total rebuild trying to fix the things Joker screwed up. Brooks rebuild in hindsight was really impressive because he had to do it with limited scholarships. Joker screwed up everything Brooks did which put us in the position we’re in now. For Stoops part, the disorganization; we seems to hire the wrong coaches: how does DJ Eliot still have a job. As for Mitch: Mitch is a great AD when comes to things like grades. When it comes to hiring he’s got a 50/50 shot. People give him credit for hiring Cal, when you put yourself in the position you have really no other choice to fix the thing you screwed up, you get no credit.

  24. Elrod The Bod
    5:14 pm September 5, 2016 Permalink

    A real fan sticks with their team regardless of how tough or discouraging it gets. Period.

    I think the reason fans are quicker to write off Stoops is because Brooks raised expectations such that we are not as patient a fan base as we used to be. But the comparison in the article clearly shows that Stoops is doing better going into Season 4 than Brooks was at the start of the 2006 season.

  25. fauxbobknight
    9:06 am September 6, 2016 Permalink

    “why is mark stoops leash shorter than rich brooks?”

    a) Brooks took over a program on probation & b) Brooks had previous head coaching experience at the college and pro level. Stoops may very well turn out to be a better coach but he is still trying to make a name for himself whereas brooks had already made a name for himself.