For a basketball school, there’s been a growing buzz over the Kentucky football program since Mark Stoops took over — especially on the recruiting trail.
Now, that buzz has resulted in a little additional job “security,” such as it is, for the head coach heading into his second year with the Wildcats.
In a press release Tuesday, UK announced that it has rewarded Stoops with a contract extension through June 30, 2019. Stoops’ original five-year deal was set to expire Dec. 31, 2017.
In announcing the extension, athletic director Mitch Barnhart pointed to both fan enthusiasm and the recruiting front as the impetus behind the amended deal.
“We are excited about the enthusiasm and recruiting success that Mark and his staff have brought to our football program,” Barnhart said in a statement. “We had the nation’s second-largest increase in attendance last season and we have had the two largest spring-game attendances in school history (in 2013 and 2014).
“In recruiting, Mark and his tireless assistant coaches have made an obvious impact with their first two classes and that momentum is carrying forward for 2015.”
The release did not specify whether a raise was a part of the new contract.
While there is certainly more of a buzz surrounding the program, it didn’t translate into immediate success on the field as the Wildcats went just 2-10 in Stoops’ first season in Lexington. Kentucky, though, currently has the No. 24 recruiting class for the 2015 cycle after Stoops and his coaching staff pulled in the No. 17 class this past February and the No. 29 class in 2013. Prior to Stoops’ arrival, UK had just two recruiting classes — 2006 (No. 36) and 2009 (No. 41) — finish inside the Top 50 nationally since 2002.