By LARRY VAUGHT
My buddy, Larry Glover — the host of LarryGloverLive on WVLK (590 AM) daily from noon-3 p.m. — was sort of joking Sunday on Twitter when his comments about Kentucky coach Mark Stoops made me wonder if he could be on to something.
“The toughest recruiting job may be for (UK athletics director) Mitch (Barnhart) to convince Stoops to stay in Lexington. You know he’s going to get some calls after the season,” Glover posted on Twitter when we were discussing UK’s lack of success with in-state recruits the last three years.
That brought this response from former all-SEC defensive back Van Hiles, who now lives in Louisiana.
“I think it will have to be an incredible job for him to leave. All my ex-coaches love the area and one big one came back because of his love. Lexington is a great college town and the area is really nice. He’s built something and it would take a big traditional school (for Stoops to leave),” Hiles tweeted.
That led Glover to correct ponder how many jobs that might be attractive to Stoops would be open. He led UK to consecutive 7-6 marks in 2016 and 2017 that included bowl appearances each year. This year UK is already 7-1, ranked 11th and could win the SEC East with a win over No. 7 Georgia on Saturday.
Not many jobs would be open that would be a better fit for Stoops than what he has at UK right now with new facilities and a generous contract that will roll over for another year with this season’s success leaving his buyout at $15 million or more for UK.
“The one that should worry UK fans is Florida State but I can’t see them bailing on Willie (Taggart) after one season,” Glover said.
However, Glover also brought up Ohio State where Urban Meyer has won games but certainly been the center of national controversy this year.
“Ohio State is an obvious landing spot. If it comes open, he’d crawl to Columbus,” Glover said.
Crawl? I doubt that. Interested? Yes.
Stoops is a native of Youngstown, Ohio. Stoops and recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow — also a Youngstown native — have tons of recruiting connections in Ohio.
Hiles noted there is no guarantee Meyer won’t be back or that Ohio State would consider Stoops a “big” enough name for them. No insult to UK football, but I would tend to think Hiles is right. If Meyer is fired, bought out or whatever, Ohio State would want a sexy, big name hire.
I joked with Glover that he’s a troublemaker for even suggesting so early that Stoops might be interested in leaving Lexington. But realistically, it’s nice for UK to have a coach that other schools would like to hire. That means a program is doing well and UK is doing well.
If UK wins nine, 10 or 11 games, will Stoops be a hot name for schools with coaching spots to fill? Absolutely. Would he leave UK? I have no idea.
But I know this — having a coach winning so many games that other schools want him is a unique, and good, problem for Kentucky football.