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November 27, 2012

FSU's Mark Stoops named UK head coach

Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops has accepted the head coaching job at Kentucky, the school announced in a release on Tuesday.

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

"First of all, I want to thank Jimbo Fisher and Florida State University for allowing me to be the defensive coordinator at Florida State. It has been three of the greatest years of my life. I am grateful for the support of all Seminole fans as we focus on the ACC Championship.

"I want to thank President Capilouto and Mitch Barnhart for this opportunity. I promise the faithful of the Big Blue Nation I will be focused and driven to create a positive, winning atmosphere for the program and an environment that all of Kentucky can be proud of."

Stoops will address the UK media on Sunday, the day after the Seminoles face Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte.

Stoops, 45, has been defensive coordinator for the Seminoles since late 2009. FSU ranks second in the nation in total defense this year, allowing 249.4 yards per game. They rank fourth in rushing defense, sixth in passing defense, and seventh in scoring defense. He was one of 29 nominees for the Broyles Award this year, given to the nation's top assistant coach.

"Mark's passion has been evident in the way he coaches and in his love for the game of football," UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart said in the release. "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. We welcome Mark, Chantel, Will and Zack to the Big Blue Nation."

Florida State's defense ranked 108th nationally in 2009, the year before he arrived in Tallahassee. The Seminoles improved to 42nd nationally in 2010 and fourth nationally in 2011.

Eight of Stoops' defensive players were named All-ACC selections this week, including four first team selections. Stoops ran a 4-3 defense in Tallahassee.

"I enjoyed my time this week with Coach Stoops," UK president Eli Capilouto said in the release. "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."

Stoops is the younger brother of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops and former Arizona head coach Mike Stoops. He previously coached as defensive coordinator at Arizona when Mike was coach there, and has served as an assistant at Miami, Houston, Wyoming and South Florida.

"I am extremely happy for Mark and his family," FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "He has done a tremendous job for us here as a defensive coordinator and he is a vital part of our staff. I always say you want the people who work for you to advance and reach their goals and aspirations and I couldn't be happier. He has done a super job for us and this opportunity is well deserved. He is very well prepared and I think he will do one heck of a job for the University of Kentucky. I was very fortunate to have him on our staff and consider him a good friend."

Stoops, Barnhart, and former UK quarterback Tim Couch, who helped with the search, will be available at the press conference on Sunday.

Stay tuned to CatsIllustrated.com for updates throughout the day.


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