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  • VAUGHT: Toughest recruiting job may be keeping Stoops in Lexington

    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.
    Comments 15 Comments
    1. Doc's Avatar
      Doc -
      Quote Originally Posted by Darrell KSR View Post
      Doc's "loyalty" question here...would Stoops leave Kentucky?
      I have strong feelings here. I have no issue with a coach going to a better job, such as Scott Frost leaving UCF for Nebraska...or going to your alma mater, such as Scott Frost leaving UCF for Nebraska. But when its a lateral move or downward move, like Jimbo Fisher leaving FSU, then I have an issue. In Stoops' case, UK stuck with him despite him doing boneheaded things allowing him to learn on the job. Now if he gers a significantly higher paying offer and UK fails to match, OK. Dont like it but understand it. But the fact a school took a chance and stuck with somebody aught to be worth something, not to add the commitment to the players recruited
    1. PedroDaGr8's Avatar
      PedroDaGr8 -
      Quote Originally Posted by CitizenBBN View Post
      First, you're vastly overplaying the fan's behavior. I can't think of more than one or two who called for his head, though many were frustrated at times with decisions. That's not really a surprise, the whole scheme was that he was getting on the job training as a HC.

      But the issue isn't the fans. It would be if he'd been treated badly, but no one was putting for sale signs in his yard, etc.

      The issues is his relationship with UK. UK gave him a very good contract, and followed through on commitments to investment in facilities, coaching salaries, etc. They should have btw, but they did, and gave him a really big buyout to protect him to give him time.
      I fully agree with this. Many are acting like the fact that he isn't the media's darling == he is hated. The reality is, there is a HUGE gray area between these two extremes.

      The reality is that he actually has a good thing going on right now. Stoops coached himself as a DC into a luxury position. He was given the freedom to evolve and grow as a HC and figure out what things were going to look like. Furthermore, he got to do so in one of the most brutal testing grounds that exists, while still having job security. Truth is, he has had his ups and downs but that's a part of change. Change is always painful and things often get worse in the short term, with the understanding it gets better long term. Additionally, to be honest there will be a team or two in the future that sucks again and that's not only OK but expected. First, you have to establish the ability to win at all, then you have to use that growth to evolve further so that you win regularly. There will be setbacks, but that's the price you pay for being as bad as we have been historically. The cold hard reality is that this is the best outcome we could have realistically gotten; to be quite blatant, we sucked and have sucked for a long time. A big name just isn't looking to take on THAT level of challenge with the risks involved.

      Many play up the fact that he is not coaching for a major football school. The idea being that when you achieve this level of performance and get an offer from a major program, you are one of the best of the best. This ignores the bigger picture though, he is still coaching in what you could arguably call THE blueblood conference. Win in this conference and you are considered one of the best irrespective of program. I can't think of another conference where winning in the conference holds that level of regard (not just in football). Heck, you could lose to Bama every single year and still be one of the best. Outside of a true blueblood school or a school he has notable ties to, I just don't see the upside for leaving any time soon. If TOSU or FSU came knocking, I could see him jumping. If Florida or LSU came knocking, less likely but I could see it. Outside of that, I just don't see the upside for him. Furthermore, I don't see a school of that caliber coming after him yet. He hasn't proven that he can win regularly and outside of FSU, they aren't that desperate yet. As for FSU, this year won't be the dangerous year. The year to watch is the end of next year or the year after (if UK remains moderately successful).

      Quote Originally Posted by CitizenBBN View Post
      I get it's an old fashioned notion for employers and employees to show any loyalty to each other, but I still believe in it. I'm loyal to people who step up for me, and yes I expect a certain amount from them. I do NOT expect them to sacrifice themselves for me, if they get a much better opportunity than I ca provide I understand completely, but to leave for a lateral move etc. if I've gone the extra mile for them? No, that's not OK.

      There was a time in this country such things were valued. I still do, but then again I open doors for ladies and keep my word on a deal too.
      I was lucky that at the very first company I worked at, my manager and co-manager set all of us down to tell us about the rules of being on the business side of science. First statement: "Loyalty is a one-way street. Every boss will preach about loyalty (even me) but guess what happens when we don't meet our numbers. It isn't my job being cut, it is yours. Remember that always." This was a very powerful and important life lesson and for those in science one that needed to be taught. They rewarded our loyalty in other ways, when they could, but stressed don't sacrifice too much. They did things like supporting us in our career and never holding us back from a new job, giving us ample opportunities to cross-train and gain new skill sets, allowing us to have a very relaxed work environment (eg you must work an 9 hour day and you must be here between 10am-1pm, how you shift the hours outside of that doesn't matter as long as the work gets done). Furthermore, some upper management (directors, VPs, etc.) would take it VERY serious if they found out you were interviewing elsewhere. It could really damage your career within the company if you didn't get the job. My boss and coboss would cover for us when we had job interviews and even advise us on salaries, questions to ask the potential company, etc.

      As for where did loyalty go? Loyalty was killed by the big business executives, not by the common worker. As with many things wrong in business, it wasn't the small/medium business execs that killed it but the large businesses. A well-run small/medium-sized business knows that it needs the loyalty of its workers to survive and rewards them with similar loyalty. Many workers in my field (to this day) are WAY more loyal than they should be, sticking around long after they should and making sacrifices in work/life balance that the company hasn't earned. Long gone are the days where you put in your time and you moved up within the company. Most companies now have caps on number of levels for a promotion, time between promotions, and %-increases in salary. As a result, the only way to really move up is to switch jobs regularly (as I have done). As such, many workers are, in essence, trained to not be loyal by industry as a whole. This means that those who might not be inherently loyal are not taught to be so and even those who are inherently loyal are disincentivized against being loyal. For myself, I am loyal enough that I never hesitate to roll up my sleeves and go the extra mile when the situation demands it. I just take care to not sacrifice my life outside of work too much, because I have seen VERY clearly that this behavior is NEVER rewarded.
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      I posted a reply, but after reading it again, we're mostly on the same page on the discussion, so I just deleted it to avoid confusion.
    1. BigBluePappy's Avatar
      BigBluePappy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Darrell KSR View Post
      I posted a reply, but after reading it again, we're mostly on the same page on the discussion, so I just deleted it to avoid confusion.
      I am confused most of the time, anyways...
    1. KentuckyWildcat's Avatar
      KentuckyWildcat -
      Quote Originally Posted by BigBluePappy View Post
      I am confused most of the time, anyways...
      Blame that on Darrell....
    1. CitizenBBN's Avatar
      CitizenBBN -
      Pedro, it depends on the circumstances and the company in question.

      No doubt big companies have no loyalty to anything or anyone. No argument there.

      But I show a lot of loyalty to my people, and IMO UK has shown a LOT of loyalty to Stoops. They put a contract in place specifically to give him time to grow into the job, and simultaneously spent the money needed to retain good staff (Vince Morrow got a raise to stay) and on the facilities to make sure he had every work advantage UK can provide.

      They did all of this "on the come", hoping he would grow into the job. They took a pretty good sized chance on him, which is not the same thing we're talking about when we talk about corporate loyalty and employment generally. Very different.

      So yes in this case, where I think UK has really gone the extra mile to give him every bit of support and protection and time they could to let him prove himself capable at this level, that they are due some consideration.

      They arent' due complete self sacrifice, but all of those actions should have some value in the decision equations about staying or going.
    1. KentuckyWildcat's Avatar
      KentuckyWildcat -
      At the end of the day, you stay or go for whatever reason. Sometimes money, family, location, whatever....But if I ever leave a 3 million dollar job for a 5 million dollar job based on money alone. Someone please smack me as I have lost myself.
    1. VirginiaCat's Avatar
      VirginiaCat -
      Quote Originally Posted by Catfan73 View Post
      He’s been around coaching enough and seen what his brothers have been through to know he’s got a pretty good thing going in Lexington. Why mess up what might be a ten year job for a two or three year flame out somewhere else?

      The obvious answer is $$$. If he is earning $ per year at UK and can get $$$$ at a big name then he is earning 4 times the $ for 3 years...basically what he would make in the 10 years.

      I do not expect that to happen however. I think you are right. He wanted this job. He built it. But I do think he underestimated what it would take to keep in state talent away from the big boys and that might be frustrating to him.
    1. Philly Cat's Avatar
      Philly Cat -
      If he gets a bigger offer and tries to get UK to match, I hope we let him walk and call Neil Brown. That guy is the TRUTH, he's a UK guy, and he would keep the train running just fine.

      [Pedro, I liked your post-- thanks!]
    1. MTcatfan's Avatar
      MTcatfan -
      Oklahoma could be in the running for a new head coach...would they even want another Stoops, or after OK firing his brother as DC mid-season would he even want to go there?
    1. kingcat's Avatar
      kingcat -
      Quote Originally Posted by MTcatfan View Post
      Oklahoma could be in the running for a new head coach...would they even want another Stoops, or after OK firing his brother as DC mid-season would he even want to go there?
      I dont think he would consider it under the circumstances
    1. Catfan73's Avatar
      Catfan73 -
      Starting to think Miami might be one to worry about coming after Stoops.
    1. KSRBEvans's Avatar
      KSRBEvans -
      Maybe UK can hire Pruitt after Stoops gets hired away. He and his staff sure coached rings around Stoops and his staff today.
    1. dan_bgblue's Avatar
      dan_bgblue -
      Quote Originally Posted by KSRBEvans View Post
      Maybe UK can hire Pruitt after Stoops gets hired away. He and his staff sure coached rings around Stoops and his staff today.
      IMO he is the best young HC in the conference.
    1. suncat05's Avatar
      suncat05 -
      Whoever wants him can have Stoops and as an added bonus we'll throw in one slightly used up Athletic Director too! 😉
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