Oct. 10, 2011
TUCSON, Ariz. - University of Arizona director of athletics Greg Byrne announced that Mike Stoops has been relieved of his duties and no longer will be head coach of the Arizona Football program. Byrne said that defensive coordinator Tim Kish will serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
Stoops was introduced as the 28th head coach in Arizona's 108-year football history in November 2004. He was able to re-establish respectability to a program that had slid to the bottom of the Pac-10 Conference before his arrival with a program-low 2-10 record in 2003.
Stoops' record in eight seasons at Arizona was 41-50, with a 27-38 mark in league games. Arizona currently is 1-5 in 2011 and 0-4 for last place in the Pac-12 South division. The Cats lost, 37-27, at Oregon State last Saturday, their eighth consecutive league loss. The Wildcats have lost 10 consecutive games against FBS opponents, winning their season opener against Northern Arizona this year and last beating a FBS team (UCLA) on Oct. 30, 2010.
Arizona has a bye this week before returning to play at home Thursday, Oct. 20, in an ESPN national cablecast against UCLA.
"We're appreciative of Mike's dedicated work for the Arizona Wildcats," Byrne said. "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."
Kish, 57, defensive coordinator throughout Stoops' tenure in Tucson said, "Today is tough day for the program. It's an important moment, for sure. I appreciate Greg's faith in me to provide leadership to our young men during this difficult time. I've been with Coach Stoops for each of his eight years here and know that we have a strong foundation for not only the future but for our immediate tasks. I know this coaching staff will work hard and support our players as we compete for the remainder of the season. We're here to help these players succeed."
Byrne said a search for Stoops' successor would begin immediately. "I expect the search to end sometime after the regular season is over," he 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," he said.
Stoops, 49, guided the Wildcats to three straight bowl appearances (2008-2010), which matches a school record for most consecutive postseason appearances (1992-94). In 2009, the Wildcats returned to the national rankings and remained in the polls for much of the 2010 season after a 7-1 start. Arizona peaked at No. 9 in the Associated Press poll following a 34-27 victory over then-No. 9 Iowa on Sept. 18, 2010.
The victory over the ranked Hawkeyes was the ninth such win over a nationally-ranked team by one of Stoops' teams. He defeated a ranked team in each of his first seven years at Arizona, and went 9-24 overall against ranked foes.
Prior to Stoops' arrival in Tucson, he was the associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Oklahoma, including during the 2000 season when the Sooners won the national championship. His coaching career began as a graduate assistant and assistant coach at Iowa where he spent six seasons. He then went on to coach seven seasons at Kansas State before moving on to Oklahoma and later Arizona for his first head coaching job.
Mike Stoops Year-by-Year at Arizona: 2004 Head Coach (3-8) 2005 Head Coach (3-8) 2006 Head Coach (6-6) 2007 Head Coach (5-7) 2008 Head Coach (8-5) Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl 2009 Head Coach (8-5) Pacific Life Holiday Bowl 2010 Head Coach (7-6) Valero Alamo Bowl 2011 Head Coach (1-5)