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.