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Desert dismissal: Arizona fires Mike Stoops

Arizona v Oregon Getty Images

For the second time already this season, the head coach of a Div. 1-A football program has found himself suddenly and abruptly without a job.

Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne not-so-unexpectedly announced Monday evening that Mike Stoops has been dismissed as the Wildcats’ head coach.  Defensive coordinator Tim Kish will serve as the interim head coach until a permanent replacement is found.

“We’re appreciative of Mike’s dedicated work for the Arizona Wildcats,” Byrne said in a statement. “Coach Stoops had many successes as our head coach over the last eight seasons. It was a difficult decision but I feel now is the time for new leadership and direction.”

Coming off a disappointing 7-6 record in 2010, Stoops was one of a handful of coaches on the hot seat entering this year; a 1-5 start to the 2011 season sealed his fate.  The fact that UA played one of the toughest early-season schedules, however, didn’t help said fate.

Stoops’ only win in the past 11 games was against Div. 1-AA Northern Arizona in the season opener, with that downward spiral coming after UA began the 2010 season at 7-1.  The Wildcats have also lost eight straight Pac-10/12 games, yet another reason that led to the school pulling the trigger on a change.

In seven-plus seasons at UA, Stoops has compiled a 41-50 overall record and a 27-38 mark in conference play.  Stoops led the Wildcats to bowl appearances the past three years, just the second time in school history that’s been accomplished.  Until Stoops’ arrival in 2004, the Wildcats had not been to a bowl game since after the 1998 season.

The search for a successor will begin immediately.  One of the first names you will likely hear connected to the opening is Boise State’s Chris Petersen; besides the fact that he’s one of the top coaches in the country, he’s also very good friends with Byrne.  Another name that will be mentioned in connection with this opening — and nearly every job that comes open for that matter — is former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach.

“I expect the search to end sometime after the regular season is over,” Byrne said. “We will make the best decision for Arizona Football, and we are open to a variety of candidates, but the next time you will hear anything from me about this search will be when we introduce our new coach.”

UPDATED 10:18 p.m. ET: Stoops has released a statement addressing his dismissal.

“I am very proud of the Wildcat football program and the many accomplishments we have enjoyed. Topping that list is our qualifying for consecutive bowl games the past three seasons for only the second time in school history. I am also proud of the success our players demonstrated off the field. Not only has our team Academic Progress Rate (APR) improved significantly each of the past five years, but also our players have made great strides in conducting themselves in a manner that reflects the ideals of this University.

“When I took this job, I was hoping to be the first coach to lead this program to a Rose Bowl. Although we fell short of that goal, we made significant progress, and our organization continues to strive for excellence. I wish the entire Wildcat football program the best of luck going forward, and I thank the University of Arizona for the opportunity to be a part of the successes we have achieved over the past eight seasons.”

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14 Responses to “Desert dismissal: Arizona fires Mike Stoops”
  1. skinsfanintx says: Oct 10, 2011 9:11 PM

    How long before Oklahoma fires Bob Stoops for messing over so much talent in Norman ? I expect a flame … Bob Stoops has Bobby Bowden to thank for his one title. Bobby Bowden messed over even more talent. I am both a OU fan and Florida State fan so I am not a hater.

    Mike Stoops, unlike #occupy doak campbell or owen field, will land a great job so I don’t feel bad for him.

  2. florida727 says: Oct 10, 2011 9:21 PM

    Coaches get too much credit when they succeed, and too much blame when they lose. How many missed tackles did Stoops have anyway? How many times did he jump offsides?

    Have to admit though, I love the AD’s comments. Translation: “hey we need to say something that comes across as politically correct, but the end result is the same, Mikey, your @$$ is gone. You okay with that? Not that we really care you understand.”

    As soon as they win their next game, regardless of when that actually happens, they’ll say, see, great move. It was Mike’s fault.

  3. suprmous says: Oct 10, 2011 9:27 PM

    While admitting not to being a fan of Bro Bob Mike has more common sense and personality than Bro Bob will ever hope to have. The 2 have the same parents but that’s as far as it goes. Mike shouldn’t be compared to Bob in any shape form or fashion. It makes me sick when Bob gets compared. OSU’s going to pay the ultimate price for this screw up and pay big time. God willing I hope he lands another job soon.

  4. 10of14 says: Oct 10, 2011 10:16 PM

    WHAT? Nice rants about Bob. He may be a zero as a personality, but he just Punked a very good Texas team and last time I looked was having another good year. As for the subject at hand, mike is proablly a nice guy, but he is way below .500 in conference and like Charlie Weis, is a great assistant coach. Good luck to Peterson (done deal) in Tucson.

  5. usernamethatdoesnotalreadyexist says: Oct 10, 2011 10:21 PM

    supermous….What the f%&k are you talking about? OSU? Bro Bob Mike? Are you high?

    How often does Bob get compared to Mike? Again, what the f%&k are you talking about?

  6. trbowman says: Oct 10, 2011 10:40 PM

    Good. Can’t stand coaches who yell and scream at the top of their lungs 24/7

  7. wavoka says: Oct 10, 2011 11:05 PM

    Was today National Bang Your Head on a Waterpipe & Go To To Post Stupid Ass Posts Day?

  8. phelbin says: Oct 10, 2011 11:08 PM

    As an Arizona alum…I gotta say, it’s about damn time! Mike Stoops did well getting us out of the cellar, but he didn’t have what it takes to get us to the next level. And now with the new Pac12 TV money, we’ll be able to hire a top-notch replacement.

    We finally got rid of the previous AD, Jim Livengood, and now Stoops too? It’s a good time to be a Wildcat!

  9. nflfan4life says: Oct 11, 2011 1:43 AM

    peterson + byrn favorite/solid credentials
    – boise guys go bust
    cecil – + nfl d coor. /az HOF alumni
    – needs recruting asst.
    leach + ready to get back
    – may have to much baggage for AD
    tressel +great coach.
    – too much, too soon

  10. paulbrownsrevenge says: Oct 11, 2011 10:06 AM

    Did they tell him he was fired during the game? It looks like he’s crying on the sidelines in this picture.

  11. bangthedrum22 says: Oct 11, 2011 1:40 PM

    What about rich rod? I think he would be a good fit and I really believe he wasnt given a fair shake at michigan.

  12. paulbrownsrevenge says: Oct 11, 2011 7:23 PM

    Good luck to Arizona getting a better coach. All people care about in Tucson is hoops. They can’t even fill the stands for home conference games.

  13. oregonbear says: Oct 12, 2011 2:20 PM

    trbowman says:
    Oct 10, 2011 10:40 PM
    Good. Can’t stand coaches who yell and scream at the top of their lungs 24/7


    I’m with you on that. I can’t stand the Stoops style of coaching. Constantly yelling at their players, assistants, the refs, and even the water boys. Can you imagine having to play or work for those guys. I think they’re both headed for coronaries some day.

  14. bobdawg602 says: Oct 17, 2011 4:30 AM

    Everyone who fails to pound the Beaver, should be fired! Just saying

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