Sooners assistant gets Arizona job
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Mike Stoops, the younger brother of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, was introduced Saturday as the new head coach at Arizona and promised a return to the glory days of bowl games and all-out defense.
"We're going to be ready to play when we start in September," he said. "We're going to have a defense that attacks people from a bunch of different ways, and we're going to have an offense that's going to spread people out and make them defend the whole field."
Stoops' five-year contract includes a base salary of $350,000 and a $300,000 TV/radio guarantee. It also includes a $50,000 buyout clause along with an array of potential bonuses:
The younger Stoops, the top-ranked Sooners' co-defensive coordinator, inherits a team that went 2-10 and finished last in the Pac-10 for the first time.
But Stoops, 41, believes good coaches can win anywhere, a view reinforced by six years at Kansas State, a former have-not which has become a perennial bowl team. He cited Washington State as an example of what can be done in the intensely competitive Pac-10.
The secret is instilling a winning attitude in the players and coaching preparation, said Stoops, who believes Arizona has the facilities, attractiveness and athletes to reverse its string of four losing seasons.
"Every team I've ever been associated with has been as well-prepared as any team we played," he said.
Stoops is Arizona's 28th head coach, and the youngest since Larry Smith, then 40, was hired in 1980.
"He's worked hard and deserves this," Bob Stoops said. "He's more than prepared for it."
Mike Stoops will be bringing another brother along with him to Arizona. Miami defensive backs coach Mark Stoops told his players that he is leaving the Hurricanes to join the Wildcats. Mark Stoops and Miami coach Larry Coker officially declined comment, but Coker said the school would soon have a statement.
Given the upheaval in the program under former coach John Mackovic and the contrast with the successful men's basketball program, athletic director Jim Livengood wanted to make sure he chose the right man.
He said Oklahoma basketball coach Kelvin Sampson, a friend from their time together at Washington State, recommended Stoops two years ago.
"He said, 'Jim, you need to keep your eye on this guy,' " Livengood said. "'He's really something special. He can be just like his brother -- he's out of the same mold.' "
Stoops will help coach Oklahoma in its Big 12 title game against Kansas State on Saturday, but will return to Tucson after that and not stay with the Sooners for their bowl game.
Southern California offensive coordinator Norm Chow, also considered a front-runner, let it be known he wanted to stay with the Trojans until their bowl game.
Others considered were: Cincinnati Bengals assistant Ricky Hunley, New York Giants defensive coordinator Johnnie Lynn and Mike Hankwitz, Mackovic's defensive coordinator, who took over after Mackovic was fired on Sept. 28.
University president Peter Likins, who interviewed the finalists, said Stoops was the first choice.
Likins had a visit last November from about 40 football players who complained that Mackovic was insensitive and aloof. The former NFL coach weathered the revolt, but was fired after this year's team won its opener and then lost four straight.
The Wildcats finished their worst season in 46 years -- one that included a school-record, eight-game losing streak -- with a 28-7 loss to Arizona State on Friday.
Livengood and Likins praised Hankwitz, who was 1-6 as a fill-in, and Stoops said he planned to meet with Hankwitz soon about the future.
Stoops acknowledged that his program will trail in recruiting initially, but said some of the assistants he hopes to hire have ties to California, Texas or Arizona, where he expects to concentrate the recruiting effort.
Stoops has coached under his brother since 1999. He is the associate head coach for the No. 1 Sooners and shares defensive coordinator duties with Brent Venables, who left Kansas State the same time as Mike Stoops to join Oklahoma's staff.
Stoops was a two-time all-Big Ten defensive back at Iowa in 1983-84. He played for the NFL's Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Gladiators of the Arena League before becoming a graduate assistant coach at Iowa in 1986.
He was hired at Kansas State in 1992, rising to assistant head coach and defensive coordinator before leaving for Oklahoma.
Stoops choked back tears when he talked about leaving players and fans in Oklahoma, but said he was in a dream situation.
"This has always been a goal of mine," he said.
Information from ESPN.com sports business reporter Darren Rovell and The Associated Press was used in this report.
MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL HEADLINES
- NC State's Byrd gets 6th year of eligibility
- Ex-Fiesta Bowl chief gets 8 months in scheme
- A&M, UCLA agree to home-and-home series
- Wife believes Sandusky 'definitely' innocent
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
- Riddell Arizona Wildcats Mini Speed Football Helmet