Mark Stoops Confirms Interest In Leaving Kentucky For Florida State
Mark Stoops is interested in leaving Kentucky for Florida State, that much is clear.
Coaches in all sports know exactly what to say when they want to fan the flames of a particular rumor and when they want to shut it down completely.
Stoops had the opportunity to do the latter this week – instead he opted for the former.
Florida State head coach Willie Taggart was abruptly fired this past Sunday after a disappointing short run with the school.
All attention immediately turned to whom FSU would replace him with.
One of the more popular floated options was Stoops, who is currently in his seventh season with Kentucky.
Stoops, of course, served as a defensive coordinator under Jimbo Fisher at Florida State and was an essential part of the 2013 championship squad.
Thanks to Stoops’ leadership, Kentucky is fresh off their first 10-win season since 1977 – just the third in school history.
Beyond that, Kentucky also finished with a winning SEC record for the first time in more than 40 years.
Due to the herculean coaching effort performed by him last year Stoops earned the AP’s 2018 SEC Coach of the Year honors.
All of which is to say – there are plenty of good reasons for Florida State to be interested in Stoops.
On Monday, during his weekly press conference, Stoops was pressed on the rumors of him jumping ship to Florida State.
“It’s something that you don’t really want to address in season,” Stoops replied.
“I guess it’s better than the alternative. For us, for myself, it’s 100 percent concentration on Tennessee.
“That’s all I want. That’s all I want our team to focus on. That’s all you can do.”
Any time you don’t hear a coach explicitly deny interest in a particular job, it mean they are interested in said job.
“With success, you’re going to have some of that [talk],” Stoops continued.
“For me, this is six and a half years. I sit there listening to Coach Cal and every year, he’s going to the NBA, right?
“So you just dismiss it and concentrate on the things you can control and not get into speculation.
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“I’m going to talk about the University of Kentucky and Tennessee.”
When asked if he will discuss the matter with his players, Stoops immediately rejected the idea.
“There’s no need to address that,” he responded.
“The players know where my heart’s at.”
Look, Stoops has earned this speculation.
He is the fifth coach in Wildcats history to win 40 career games.
He is 28-19 in the last three years.
He has led Kentucky to three consecutive bowl games – and there is a very good chance they are going to a fourth this year.
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Stoops is a great coach and deserves the attention he is getting from FSU.
But don’t believe this nonsense that because he did not explicitly state interest in the Florida State job, that he is somehow not interested in it.
He had every opportunity in the world to shut the rumors down on Monday. There is a reason for that.
In college football where there’s smoke there is most definitely fire.