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Mike Stoops - Football - University of Kentucky Athletics



Mike Stoops, a 35-year collegiate coaching veteran who is the brother of head coach Mark Stoops, enters his third season as the inside linebackers coach of the University of Kentucky football program in 2024. He replaced Jon Sumrall, who was named the head coach at Troy University in 2022.

In his second season in the Bluegrass in 2023, Stoops helped a pair of inside linebackers build on the success they experienced the previous season and into key players on defense. Inside linebackers All-SEC First Team selection D’Eryk Jackson (89 tackles) and Trevin Wallace (80 tackles) led the roster in total tackles on the season, while Wallace also ranked second on the team in tackles for loss (8.5, -57 yards) and 5.5 sacks (-35 yards). Stoops’ unit supported a team that had the best rush defense in the head coach Mark Stoops era, holding opponents to 113.1 yards per game, which ranked second in the conference and 17th in the nation at the end of the season. The defense also ranked top five in the conference and top 25 in the nation in team sacks (2.69) and tackles for loss (6.5) in 2023.

During his first season at Kentucky in 2022, Stoops helped coach a defense that finished 11th in the nation and third in the Southeastern Conference in total defense, limiting opponents to just 311.4 yards per game. A key piece to that success was the inside linebacker room, including then-junior Jackson and then-sophomore Trevin Wallace. Jackson paced the team with 67 tackles in 2022, while twenty-seven of those were solo tackles. He also added four tackles for loss (-11 yards) and two pass breakups to his stat line. The SEC Academic Honor Roll member progressed throughout the season, making at least eight tackles in four of his last six games in 2022. Guided by Stoops, Wallace totaled 54 tackles (fifth-most on the team), 5.5 tackles for loss (third-most on the team), 2.5 sacks and two interceptions (team-high tying) on the season.

The Stoops brothers reunited in Lexington ahead of 2022, after having previously worked together at Arizona from 2004-09 when Mike was the head coach and Mark the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. They also spent the 1991 season together at Iowa when Mike was the linebackers and defensive backs coach and Mark was a graduate assistant.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to coach with Mike again,” Mark Stoops said.  “Mike was instrumental in my early development as a coach, as I learned a lot from him at Arizona. He has a wealth of experience as a head coach, coordinator and position coach.  I look forward to having him contribute to the staff at Kentucky.”

Before coming to the Bluegrass, Stoops most recently was at Florida Atlantic where he spent the 2021 season as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach. Prior to that he spent two seasons (2019 and 2020) at Alabama as an analyst on Nick Saban’s staff, highlighted by the 2020 national championship. He also was the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Oklahoma from 2012-18 and was the head coach at Arizona from 2004-11. He had a first term at Oklahoma from 1999-2003, including the 2000 national championship season.

“I want to thank everyone at the University of Kentucky for this exciting opportunity to coach inside linebackers,” Mike Stoops said. “Mark, his staff, and these players have accomplished a great deal, while competing in the Southeastern Conference, to put the Kentucky football program on the map. I’m looking forward to working with Coach (Brad) White on defense and contributing to the development and success of our players and team. Go Cats!”

Wherever he’s been, Stoops has put together dominant defenses and he has coached some of best players in college football.  In 2001, linebacker Rocky Calmus was the winner of the Butkus Award (best linebacker). In 2003, Oklahoma defensive backs Roy Williams and Derrick Strait became the only players to win both the Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player) and Thorpe Award (best defensive back) in the same season. That same year, Sooner defensive tackle Tommie Harris won the Lombardi Award, while linebacker Teddy Lehman won both the Butkus Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award (best defensive player). In 2007, Arizona cornerback Antoine Cason was the Thorpe Award winner.

During his head coaching tenure at Arizona, Mike Stoops won 41 games and posted 84 program records in seven-plus seasons. The Wildcats went to three consecutive bowl games from 2008-10, posting winning records in each of those campaigns. In 2009, Arizona went 8-5 overall and finished second with a 6-3 mark in the Pac-10 with a bid to the Holiday Bowl.

In his 35 years of coaching, Stoops has coached in 28 bowl games and coached over 40 players in the NFL.

Mike Stoops, like Mark, played college football as a safety at Iowa.  Mike earned United Press International First Team All-America honors in 1984. He also was a two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection in 1983-84, and led the Big Ten in interceptions in 1983, totaling six in nine games. After graduation, he went on to play in the National Football League as a defensive back with the Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Iowa in 1986 before later moving to Kansas State from 1992-98.

Stoops, 61, graduated from Iowa in 1987. He and his wife, Erin, have a daughter, Payton and two sons, Colton and Ozzy.

Stoops’ Coaching Career:

2022-Pres. Kentucky Inside Linebackers TransPerfect Music City Bowl (2022)
2021 Florida Atlantic Defensive Coordinator/Safeties
2019-20 Alabama Quality Control Citrus Bowl, Rose Bowl (National Champs)
2015-18 Oklahoma Asst. Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl
2012-14 Oklahoma Asst. Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs Cotton Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl
2004-11 Arizona Head Coach Las Vegas Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Alamo Bowl
1999-2003 Oklahoma Asst. Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs Independence Bowl, Orange Bowl (National Champs), Cotton Bowl, Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl
1998 Kansas State Asst. Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs Alamo Bowl
1997 Kansas State Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs Fiesta Bowl
1996 Kansas State Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Ends Cotton Bowl
1992-95 Kansas State Defensive Ends Copper Bowl, Aloha Bowl, Holiday Bowl
1988-91 Iowa Volunteer Assistant Holiday Bowl, Peach Bowl, Rose Bowl, Holiday Bowl
1987 Iowa Graduate Assistant Holiday Bowl
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