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Best way for UK football to succeed is to keep Stoops another five to 10 years

Mark Stoops (Vicky Graff Photo)

Vaught’s note: Contributing writer Richard Cheeks has been following fans’ comments about their frustrations with UK athletics for various things such as ticket prices, seat locations, parking pass issues, priority point status and the current conflict that will keep UK sorority members from attending Saturday’s football game because of a scheduling dilemma created by UK officials. However, he thinks the best way to end the frustrations could be by keeping Mark Stoops for another 10 years.

By RICHARD CHEEKS

Larry, you have tapped into an issue that has been nagging at UK fans for quite some time, but it seems that it has finally erupted into full view, in large measure by your giving it a voice.

Part of it is the cost, and part is the neglect of the long time loyal fans. However, the biggest part is those factors in the context of a losing football program. Kentucky has not had a single head coach since Blanton Collier with a career winning record, and the average winning percentage has been gradually slipping for the last 60 years.

I continue to believe this program can return to SEC competitiveness, but that process will require 10 to 15 consecutive years with a single, capable head coach to build not just the program from the technical end (players and coaching and facilities) but on the non-technical end, traditions and expectations.

Mark Stoops is about five years into that long term process, and the bumpy ride will continue for a few more seasons with some growth mixed with some disappointment.

Perseverance and patience are necessary to see this process to a reasonable conclusion. I fear that Stoops may be in trouble before this season ends.

Give him another five to 10 seasons, and he will be the first UK football coach to retire with a winning record since Blanton Collier. But continue the coaching revolving door, and we won’t see one of those during the remainder of my lifetime.

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  1. Can you only imagine the mental states generated among the couch coaching triumvirate here @ Vaughts Views ?

  2. I say give him two more years provided he puts a winner on the field with the best team on paper he has had since he got here. That is this team, the 2018 edition, if one believes the talking season. You project only 4 wins this year yourself Professor. That is not a lot of rousing support for the old coach. If Stoops has a losing record this year, there will be plenty of noise, and most of it will be negative. It will start to be tough sledding for Mr. Stoops. Also, the ticket sales better increase, or we may lose Barnhart too.

  3. I truly believed this season will be a break out season for Stoops. I will be at the opener to cheer on the Cats!

  4. I think the model for resurrecting UK’s football program should be the way Mike Brown has stuck with Marvin Lewis. A coach has to build a tradition more than anyone else. The fans will be there if he succeeds. It would certainly help not alienating the existing fan base by telling hem they aren’t worthy of the seats they once had because they need to pay more. It comes off looking like the university cares more about the money than they do winning. They thought the upper class folks would save them but let’s face it, UK does not have an upper class team. Not at this point. I’m never in favor of turning a tax dollar built facility into a playground for the rich. The administration really slapped UK’s loyal fans in the face IMO.

    Stoops has been making steady improvement at UK. And the fans have been with him. Clearly the lack of fans has zero to do with projections about the season. No one knows how that will turn out. They do know UK has had back to back 7 win seasons. And UK fans have supported the team through much worse times. The absence of fans in the stands for the opening game is 100% on the administration. Yes let Stoops keep building a program at UK. And don’t tick off the fans you have trying to attract fans who may not ever show up in numbers that will pay for the upgrades to the stadium and training facilities. The kind of move they made is something a well established winning program has trouble doing. At UK it was a big mistake. I’ve thought so all along.

  5. I think Stoops is doing a great job.
    If UK can just beat FL the fans will love him for it.

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