Arizona's defensive mindset derives from defensive coordinator Mark Stoops. He's helped spearhead a style of secondary play and an overall mental approach that rekindled the Wildcats' reputation as a physically tough program.
He's coached All-Americans and newcomers at Arizona, and helped develop depth and consistency that will lend much to the 2009 program as it embarks on a new year with its deepest defensive unit in the 2000s.
He adds a proven expert in defensive secondary schematics, and has helped transform the unit into one of the team's most consistent strengths. He brings 19 years' experience working with defensive backs to the staff's strategic planning.
Stoops, 42, was defensive backs coach for the Miami Hurricanes from 2001-2003 before joining his brother Mike's staff at Arizona for the 2004 season. He also has experience as a co-defensive coordinator at Houston in 2000, three years coaching defensive backs at Wyoming from 1997-99, one year in the same capacity at South Florida in 1996, and four years in the Ohio prep ranks.
Career Highlights: Coached Arizona to rankings of 14th nationally in pass efficiency defense, 23rd in passing yards allowed (182 ypg) and No. 24 in total defense in 2008. Helped UA improve from fifth to third in the Pac-10 in total defense from 2007 to 2008.
Helped bring along new '08 cornerback starters to replace two four-year stalwarts who departed for the NFL. One, junior Devin Ross, earned second-team all-Pac-10 honors
Coached nickel back Corey Hall to Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week honors at UCLA in 2008
Coached cornerback Antoine Cason to the 2007 Jim Thorpe Award, consensus All-America and first-team All-Pac-10 honors.
Helped Cason and fellow senior corner Wilrey Fontenot progress to first- and seventh-round NFL selection, respectively, in the 2008 NFL Draft, after developing them from freshman corners into 11-game starters for four consecutive years.
Coached safety Michael Johnson to a spot in the 2007 NFL Draft after two years with the Arizona program following a junior college career. He was an eventual Super Bowl champion key reserve for the New York Giants in 2008.
Coached Cason to first-team All-Pacific-10 Conference honors and Ronnie Lott Trophy and semi-finalist status in 2006.
Coached safety Darrell Brooks to first-team All-Pacific-10 Conference honors and Ronnie Lott Trophy semi-final status in 2005, and positioned the graduate for strong consideration in the 2006 NFL draft.
Safety Michael Johnson earned Pac-10 and national player of the week honors after his three interception game in UA victory at Oregon State in 2005 -- a game in which Stoops' entire unit recorded an interception with Brooks, Cason and Fontenot joining in.
Helped develop cornerback Antrel Rolle, a 2005 first-round draft pick by the Arizona Cardinals.
Helped develop safety Sean Taylor, a 2004 first-round draft pick by the Washington Redskins, and seventh-round pick, cornerback Alfonso Marshall by the Chicago Bears.
The 2003 Miami defense with Stoops on staff finished first in Division I-A in pass defense, second in total defense, fourth in scoring defense and fourth in pass efficiency defense.
Coached junior safety Sean Taylor, the nation's leader with 10 interceptions in 12 games, who spearheaded a unit that had 21 total to rate sixth nationally. The 2003 `Canes rated 14th nationally with 31 turnovers gained.
Miami won four consecutive Big East championships with Stoops on staff and finished 11-2 with a victory over Florida State in the Orange Bowl, for a final No. 5 ranking in the polls in 2003.
Stoops' 2002 Miami secondary led NCAA Division I-A in passing defense, allowing only 119.7 yards per game, and led the nation in pass efficiency defense with a sparkling 83.91 rating after four new starters replaced the top-five players from the previous season. The 2002 UM secondary tied an NCAA record by allowing only 9.5 yards per completion.
Helped develop defensive backs Phillip Buchanon, Edward Reed and Mike Rumph, all taken in the first round of the 2002 NFL draft -- the first time three DBs from the same school were drafted in the top round.
Stoops' 2001 secondary spearheaded a defense that helped the Hurricanes win their fifth national championship. Miami led the nation in scoring defense, pass efficiency defense and turnover margin and set a school record with 27 interceptions for a unit with 45 takeaways.
Stoops coached consensus All-Americans in Miami safety Edward Reed (2001) and Wyoming free safety Brian Lee (1997), and Miami cornerback Phillip Buchanon (2001) was named an All-American by ABC Sports as a punt returner.
His 1998 Wyoming secondary helped the Cowboys' defense rate 28th nationally in scoring defense. Stoops' 1997 Wyoming secondary is considered one of the best in school history, ranking sixth nationally in pass defense and intercepting a school-record 24 passes.
Stoops played on four Iowa teams that played in bowl games, and he attended bowl games while his brother, Mike, was a graduate or volunteer assistant on Hayden Fry's staff -- the 1986 Rose, 1986 Holiday, 1987 Holiday and 1988 Peach Bowls. He coached on four 10, 11 or 12-victory staffs at Iowa and Miami.
Mark Stoops' Coaching History 1990 Graduate assistant coach Iowa 1991 Graduate assistant coach Iowa 1992 Athletics Director/DBs Nordonia Hills H.S. 1993 Athletics Director/ DBs Nordonia Hills H.S. 1994 Athletics Director/ DBs Nordonia Hills H.S. 1995 Athletics Director/ DBs Nordonia Hills H.S. 1996 Assistant coach/ DBs South Florida 1997 Assistant coach/ DBs Wyoming 1998 Assistant coach/ DBs Wyoming 1999 Assistant coach/ DBs Wyoming 2000 Co-def. coordinator/ DBs Houston 2001 Assistant coach/ DBs Miami 2002 Assistant coach/ DBs s Miami 2003 Assistant coach/DBs Miami 2004 Defensive Coordinator/DBs Arizona 2005 Defensive Coordinator/DBs Arizona 2006 Defensive Coordinator/DBs Arizona 2007 Defensive Coordinator/DBs Arizona 2008 Defensive Coordinator/DBs Arizona 2009 Defensive Coordinator/DBs Arizona
Mark Stoops in Bowl Games 1986 Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif. Iowa player 1986 Holiday Bowl, San Diego Iowa player 1987 Holiday Bowl, San Diego Iowa player 1988 Peach Bowl, Atlanta Iowa player 1991 Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif. Iowa grad assistant 1991 Holiday Bowl, San Diego Iowa grad assistant 2002 Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif. Miami assistant 2003 Fiesta Bowl, Tempe, Ariz. Miami assistant 2004 Orange Bowl, Miami Miami assistant 2008 Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl Arizona coordinator
Mark Stoops' All-Americans & NFL athletes CB Antoine Cason Chargers `08 S Michael Johnson Giants `07 CB Wilrey Fontenot Atlanta `08 CB Kelly Jennings Seahawks `06 CB Antrel Rolle Cardinals '05 S Sean Taylor Redskins '04 CB Alfonso Marshall Bears '04 DB Mike Rumph 49ers '02 DB Edward Reed Ravens '02 S James Lewis Colts '02 DB Markese Fitzgerald Cowboys '02 CB Phillip Buchanon Raiders '02 DB Trent Gamble Dolphins 2000 FS Brian Lee New England `98
The Stoops File Arizona Defensive Coordinator, Secondary Coach Birthdate: July 9, 1967, Youngstown, Ohio Hometown: Youngstown, Ohio High School: Cardinal Mooney, Youngstown, Ohio College: University of Iowa, 1989 Playing Experience: University of Iowa, safety, 1986-88 Recruiting Areas: Dallas, East Texas Family: Wife, Chantel, and son, William