Friday October 31st, 2014

Kentucky and football coach Mark Stoops have agreed to a contract extension running through 2019, athletic director Mitch Barnhart announced on Friday.

The new deal, which will reportedly pay Stoops more than $3.6 million annually on average, marks the second time Kentucky has extended Stoops' contract in the last six months.

Stoops, who previously served as the defensive coordinator at Florida State, has led the Wildcats to a 5-3 record this season after they finished 2-10 a year ago. Stoops also helped the Wildcats sign one of the most heralded recruiting classes in program history.

Kentucky plans to build a new practice facility and has approved a $120 million renovation to Commonwealth Stadium.

"Mark is guiding our program in the direction we all want it to go and we are proud to reward that," Barnhart said. "I was confident Mark was right for this job when I hired him, but he has exceeded my expectations. From leading a group of young men, to recruiting, to fundraising, to becoming an important part of the Lexington community, Mark has embraced and excelled in all facets of being Kentucky football head coach." [...]

"Under Coach Stoops' leadership, the UK football program is experiencing an incredible upward trajectory in the classroom and on the field," said UK president Eli Capilouto. "That continued progress, led by Coach Stoops, is critical in competing in the nation's strongest conference while maintaining one of a small number of self-sustaining athletic programs in the nation - one that supports the University's academic mission in dynamic ways, including $65 million to support the construction of a new Academic Science Building. As important, Coach Stoops and his staff put students first in everything they do. The facility improvements underway in our football program will support the athletic and academic success of our students and the long-term health of the program."
RICKMAN: The new reality: Behind the scenes of ESPN's first playoff rankings show

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.