Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Mike Stoops
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: April 26, 2007
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Related Links

Fourth Year at Arizona

22 Years in Coaching


*Boosted Arizona's attendance by 7,500 per game*

*15 Bowl Games as a coach*

*4 Bowl Games as a player*

*2000 National Championship*

*Overall record as an assistant was 168-48-2*


Arizona lured one of the nation’s top coaches in November 2003 in hiring Mike Stoops away from a powerhouse Oklahoma program, where he had worked the past five seasons as the top aide to his brother, Bob Stoops. Stoops’ hiring gave the Wildcats a proven commodity and a man with an eye toward one goal ?- winning football.

In Norman, Stoops helped rebuild a program that followed four seasons of 17-27-1 football with a swiftly crafted 7-5 bowl team, and a national championship club a year later at 13-0. The pace of that improvement was appealing to UA athletics director Jim Livengood, albeit in the hands of the elder Stoops. It was clear in Arizona’s camp that it had no less a coach than OU found when they hired Bob Stoops from the coordinator ranks.


?'He’s worked hard and deserves this. He’s more than prepared for it. I say this in a humble way: There’s nobody more like me than him.’

?- Bob Stoops, Head Coach, University of Oklahoma



            Arizona couldn’t be more pleased with the direction of its football program, and the credit goes to Mike Stoops.

            UA finished spring ball in 2005 with considerably improved expectations for the second season under Stoops. After the sessions, Stoops told an assembly of state sports editors, “I think we have a chance to be a much improved football team. The first year is always a good learning experience. I learned a lot, and we understand our strengths and weaknesses a whole lot better. The team has more hope.”

            A 3-8 season in 2004 fell short of his expectations, less than what he’d come to know at the highest levels of the game. But the year gave him a thorough appreciation of where Arizona’s program needed improvement. And he and his staff attacked those needs with relish.

            Recruiting was a top priority and the program has achieved some noted classes in Stoops’ first two tries ?- the first an exercise that began late in the process. Last spring’s incoming group more closely resembled the type of young players and need-filling transfers he’ll bring to satisfy UA’s football hunger. The 2005 class was rated among the nation’s top 20. Those recruiting classes point at Stoops’ national credibility, and his appeal to talented young football players, a key that will help Arizona step back into Pac-10 contention sooner than later. Better still, the class of 2006 has been identified by the staff and early returns show Arizona off and running for top-level players at all positions.

                Overall, Arizona’s camp is unequivocal in its belief that it has the right guy in Mike Stoops.  

            Arizona gave its first real glimpse of the Mike Stoops era when it played its best football last November, winning two of its final three games ?- and losing the other on the road at the eventual national champion. The resilience the Cats showed after earlier near misses in a seven-game losing streak was laudable. Moreover, Arizona dominated in its final game and came away with a refreshed attitude and eagerness to start again.

            Stoops’ penchant for dominating defenses has already begun to pay dividends for Arizona. Dead last in the Pac-10 in total defense, rushing defense, scoring defense and pass efficiency defense the season prior to his arrival, the Wildcats improved nearly across the board in Stoops’ first year while using nearly the same talent as 2003.

            Stoops’ self-described ?'violent’ defensive scheme led the Wildcats to an NCAA Division I-best 19 fumbles recovered in 2004 and the belief that he will accept no substitute for less than full-throttle play has already helped recharge a unit that once spawned nationally known nicknames.



Mike Stoops made me the player I am."

?- Derrick Strait, 2003 Thorpe and Nagurski Awards winner as the nation’s best defensive back and best defender.



Stoops, who will turn 45 on Dec. 13, is the 28th head football coach in Arizona’s 104-year football history, including the two-month tenure held last year by interim coach Mike Hankwitz. He is the youngest Arizona head football coach since Larry Smith was hired in April 1980 at the age of 40.

"Mike’s been to the Rose Bowl three times ?- once as a player and twice as a coach. When we looked for a new man to lead Arizona’s program, one theme that most attracted me was finding someone whose background involved a winning tradition. Mike’s been involved with three major-college programs, and combined, they’ve nearly won 80 percent of their games in his 18 years in the profession," Jim Livengood noted upon Stoops’ hiring.

Stoops had been with the Oklahoma staff as coordinator since 1999. He worked directly with the defensive secondary and put together the Sooners’ highly rated defensive package with co-coordinator Brent Venables.


"Mike shows up in shorts and a t-shirt looking for someone to coach. He is no-nonsense. I’ve been around some enormously passionate coaches, but none any more so than Mike Stoops."

?- Football broadcaster Dean Blevins



*       Stoops’ 2005 recruiting class at Arizona was rated among the nation’s top 25

*       Stoops helped boost Arizona football attendance by nearly a full stadium’s worth ?- almost 8,000 per game more. The Cats topped 50,000 per game for the first time in five years and set a record for 7-game home seasons with 350,000 total fans

*       Helped develop four 2005 NFL draft picks ?- safeties Brodney Poole, Mike Hawkins and Donte Nicholson, and cornerback Antonio Perkins

*       Arizona improved nearly 100 yards in per-game total defense its first year under Stoops, and cut 10 points off its opponents scoring rate

*       The 2004 Wildcats beat the experts and moved up two spots in the conference final standings, playing what the NCAA rated as one of the toughest schedules in America

*       Freshmen cornerback Antoine Cason earned frosh All-America honors in 2004, clearly outlining the future of UA’s defense

?* During Stoops’ tenure as OU’s defensive coordinator, the Sooners put together a 55-11 record, including the perfect 13-0 mark in 2000 when Oklahoma won its seventh national championship.

?* OU appeared in five consecutive bowl games after a four-year drought. In 2002, the Sooners became the first Big 12 team to win the Rose Bowl, dispatching Washington State, 34-14.

?* The Sooners finished in the Top 10 in the national rankings four times in Stoops’ five years on the staff. The 2001 club finished No. 6 in the polls and the 2002 team was No. 5.

?* Cornerback Derrick Strait won the Jim Thorpe and Bronko Nagurski awards, and defensive tackle Tommie Harris won the Lombardi Trophy in 2003.

?* In 2003, Stoops’ secondary helped the club record 22 interceptions to rate fourth nationally.

?* The 2003 OU defense forced 34 turnovers to rate eighth in that category and fifth in turnover margin.

?* Six Oklahoma players were named All-America in 2003, including three on Stoops’ defensive units ?- Strait, Harris and linebacker Teddy Lehman.

?* Teddy Lehman was a finalist for the Butkus Award in 2002, and he won the Butkus Award in 2003.

?* Oklahoma netted a dozen Big 12 Conference All-Academic honors as well, including eight first-team selections and six by defensive players.

?* Stoops was a finalist for the 2001 American Football Coaches Association assistant coach of the year award. That year’s Oklahoma club was fourth nationally in scoring defense and total defense, fifth in pass efficiency defense, seventh in rushing defense, 11th in passing defense and sixth in turnovers gained.

?* The 2001 Oklahoma defense ranked fourth in scoring defense and total defense, fifth in pass efficiency defense, seventh in rushing defense and 11th in passing defense.

?* In 2000 and 2001, the Sooner defense had 33 takeaways in each season to rank in the nation’s Top 10 in turnovers gained.

?* Stoops has helped put a number of OU players into the National Football League in recent years, including 2000 linebacker Torrence Marshall (Packers), 2001 linebacker Rocky Calmus (Titans), 2001 linebacker Brandon Moore (Chargers), 2001 safety Roy Williams (Cowboys), 2002 defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson (Chiefs) and 2002 cornerback Andre Woolfolk. Williams won the Jim Thorpe and the Bronko Nagurski Awards in 2001.

?* In April 2004 three of Stoops players were selected in the NFL Draft, Tommie Harris in the first round, Teddy Lehman in the second round, and Derrick Strait in the third round.

?* Stoops has coached in 15 bowl games and competed in four others as a player.

?* Iowa went to five bowls in six years and won 10 games three times during Stoops’ stint in Iowa City, including a 10-2 mark and Holiday Bowl victory over San Diego State in 1986, a 10-2 mark and Holiday Bowl victory over Wyoming in 1987, and a 10-2 mark and Holiday Bowl loss to Brigham Young in 1991.

?* Stoops coached on Kansas State teams that finished 9-2-1 in 1993, 9-3 in 1994, 10-2 in 1995, 9-3 in 1996, 11-1 in 1997 and 11-2 in his final year in 1998 when KSU won the Big 12 North Division title.

?* KSU put together a string of five consecutive bowl appearances in Stoops’ final years on the staff.

?* Kansas State was one of only four schools to rank among the Division I-A top 10 in every major defensive category during 1998.

?* In 1997, the KSU defense also stood fourth and fifth in total defense and pass efficiency defense.

?* The 1990 Iowa Hawkeyes were Big Ten champions and finished with an 8-4 record after a Rose Bowl loss to Washington.

?* The three programs he has served combined to post a sparkling record of 168-50-2 during Mike Stoops’ 18 seasons on collegiate coaching staffs, a winning percentage of .768.

?* As a player at Iowa, Stoops earned United Press International first-team All-America honors as a defensive back in 1984

?* He was a two-time, first-team All-Big Ten selection in 1983-84.

?* He led the Big Ten Conference in interceptions in 1983 as a junior with six in nine games.

?* Stoops played with the Chicago Bears and the Arena Football League’s Pittsburgh Gladiators for a year after college graduation.

Stoops’ All-Americans & NFL Athletes

CB Chris Canty (KSU) - New England ’97

LB DeShawn Fogle (KSU) - Philadelphia ?'97

LB Jeff Kelly (KSU) - Atlanta ’99

DE Darren Howard (KSU) - New Orleans ’00

DT Damion McIntosh (KSU) - San Diego ’00

CB William Bartee (OU) - Kansas City ’00

LB Torrance Marshall (OU) - Green Bay ?'01

LB Rocky Calmus (OU) - Tennessee ?'02

LB Brandon Moore (OU) - San Diego ?'02

FS Roy Williams (OU) - Dallas ’02

DE Jimmy Wilkerson (OU) - Kansas City ’03

CB Andre Woolfolk (OU) - Tennessee ’03

Stoop's Defensive Players in the 2004 NFL Draft:

DT Tommie Harris (All-American 2002, 2003, Lombardi Award 2003), 1st Round, Chicago

LB Tedy Lehman (All-American 2002, 2003, Butkus and Bednarik Awards 2003), 2nd Round, Detroit

CD Derrick Strait (All-American 2003, Thorpe Award and Nagurski Award 2003), 3rd Round, NY Jets


Mike Stoops' Coaching History 

1986   Graduate assistant coach Iowa

1987   Graduate assistant coach Iowa

1988   Volunteer assistant (linebackers/DB) Iowa

1989   Volunteer assistant (linebackers/DB) Iowa

1990   Volunteer assistant (linebackers/DB) Iowa

1991   Volunteer assistant (linebackers/DE Iowa

1992   Defensive ends coach Kansas State

1993   Defensive ends coach Kansas State

1994   Defensive ends coach Kansas State

1995   Defensive ends coach Kansas State

1996   Co-defensive coordinator/DE Kansas State

1997   Co-defensive coordinator/DB Kansas State

1998   Assistant head coach; DC/DB Kansas State

1999   Associate head coach; DC/DB Oklahoma

2000   Associate head coach; DC/DB Oklahoma

2001   Associate head coach; DC/DB Oklahoma

2002   Associate head coach; DC/DB Oklahoma

2003   Associate head coach; DC/DB Oklahoma

2004   Head Coach Arizona, 3-8, 2-6 tie 8th

2005   Head Coach Arizona, 3-8, 2-6  - 8th place

2006   Head Coach Arizona, 6-6, 4-5 - 5th place

Mike Stoops in Bowl Games

1982   Rose Bowl Iowa player

1982   Peach Bowl Iowa player

1983   Gator Bowl Iowa player

1984   Freedom Bowl Iowa player

1987   Holiday Bowl Iowa graduate assistant

1988   Peach Bowl Iowa volunteer assistant

1990   Rose Bowl Iowa volunteer assistant

1991   Holiday Bowl Iowa volunteer assistant

1993   Copper Bowl Kansas State assistant

1994   Aloha Bowl Kansas State assistant

1995   Holiday Bowl Kansas State assistant

1996   Cotton Bowl Kansas State co coordinator

1997   Fiesta Bowl Kansas State co-coordinator

1998   Alamo Bowl Kansas State coordinator

1999   Independence Bowl Oklahoma coordinator

2000   Orange Bowl Oklahoma coordinator

2001   Cotton Bowl Oklahoma coordinator

2002   Rose Bowl Oklahoma coordinator

2003   Sugar Bowl Oklahoma coordinator

The Stoops File 

Birthdate:                        Dec. 13, 1961, Youngstown, Ohio

Hometown:                     Youngstown, Ohio

High School:                  Cardinal Mooney, Youngstown, Ohio

College:                         University of Iowa, 1986

Playing Experience:     University of Iowa, safety, 1981-84

Family:                           Wife Nicole; daughter Payton; son Colton


#OurHouse Rocks Slider
#OurHouse Mini-Plans
Football vs BYU Tickets