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Kentucky hires Mark Stoops

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Mark Stoops was announced as the new head football coach at the University of Kentucky. He replaces Joker Phillips, who was fired earlier this month following a 1-9 start to the Wildcats' season.

Stoops, 45, spent the past three years as the defensive coordinator at Florida State. The Seminoles currently have the No. 2-ranked defense in the Football Bowl Subdivision, allowing 249.4 yards per game, behind only Alabama (233.7) - a vast improvement from the 108th-ranked unit he inherited in 2010.

"New beginnings always provide a sense of excitement," Kentucky director of athletics Mitch Barnhart said in a statement. "That's why today I'm excited for Mark Stoops and his family as they provide a new beginning for our football program, fans and players. I also want to thank FSU coach Jimbo Fisher for his help in the hiring process.

"Mark's passion has been evident in the way he coaches and in his love for the game of football. That passion carried over into our process and his desire to wear the Blue and White. Our desire to get better defensively and continue to expand our recruiting base helped guide us to Mark. He comes from a coaching family and has been in big games and big atmospheres throughout his career. That has prepared him for this opportunity to become head coach at Kentucky."

Mark Stoops becomes the third Stoops brother to head an FBS program. Bob Stoops is Oklahoma's head coach, while Mike Stoops was the head coach at the University of Arizona from 2004-11. Mark, the youngest of the three brothers, served as Arizona's defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach from 2004-09 before leaving for Florida State.

"I am thrilled to be named the head football coach at the University of Kentucky," Stoops said. "My family and I are excited and looking forward to becoming a part of the Big Blue Nation.

Raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Stoops was a defensive back at the University of Iowa, and was hired by former Hawkeyes coach Haden Fry as a graduate assistant in 1990. He was hired as the defensive backs coach for South Florida in 1996 and has also made coaching stops at Wyoming and Miami (Fla.). This is his first head coaching job.

"I enjoyed my time this week with Coach Stoops," Kentucky president Dr. Eli Capilouto said in a statement. "I am impressed with his commitment to student-athletes, both in the classroom and on the field. I am also deeply impressed with the way Mitch Barnhart has conducted this important process. I am confident that Coach Stoops has the character and skill to build the winning program the Big Blue Nation wants and deserves."
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