Mike Stoops named coach of the Inside Linebackers



Susan Lax

Stoops, who has 35 years of coaching experience, comes to the UK after a season with Florida Atlantic

Mike Stoops, a 35-year college coaching veteran who is the head coach’s brother Markus Stoops, has been named inside linebackers coach, the school announced today. He replaces Jon Sumrall, who has been named head coach at Troy University.

The Stoops brothers are reuniting in Lexington after previously working together in Arizona from 2004-2009 when Mike was head coach and Mark was defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. They also spent the 1991 season together in Iowa when Mike was linebacker and defensive backs coach and Mark was an assistant.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to train with Mike again,” Markus Stoops said. “Mike was instrumental in my early development as a coach as I learned a lot from him in Arizona. He has a wealth of experience as a head coach, coordinator and position coach. I look forward to having him contribute to the Kentucky staff.”

Mike Stoops was most recently with Florida Atlantic where he spent the 2021 season as defensive coordinator and safety coach. Prior to that, he spent two seasons (2019 and 2020) in Alabama as an analyst on Nick Saban’s staff, highlighted by the 2020 national championship. He was also the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Oklahoma from 2012 to 2018 and the head coach at Arizona from 2004 to 2011. He served a first term in Oklahoma from 1999 to 2003, including the 2000 national championship season.

“I want to thank everyone at the University of Kentucky for this exciting opportunity to coach inside linebackers,” said Mike Stoops. “Mark, his staff and these players have accomplished much to spread the word about Kentucky’s football program while attending the Southeastern Conference. I look forward to working with Coach (Brad) White on defense and contributing to the development and success of our players and team. gocats!”

Wherever he’s been, Stoops has built a dominant defense and coached some of the best players in college football. In 2001, linebacker Rocky Calmus was the winner of the Butkus Award (Best Linebacker). In 2003, Oklahoma defensemen Roy Williams and Derrick Strait became the only players to win both the Nagurski Trophy (best defenseman) and the Thorpe Award (best defenseman) in the same season. That same year, Sooner defensive tackle Tommie Harris won the Lombardi Award, while linebacker Teddy Lehman won both the Butkus Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award (best defensive player). In 2007, Arizona cornerback Antoine Cason was the winner of the Thorpe Award.

During his tenure as Arizona head coach, Mike Stoops won 41 games and set 84 program records in more than seven seasons. The Wildcats competed in three consecutive bowl games from 2008 to 2010 and set winning records in each of those campaigns. In 2009, Arizona went 8-5 overall and finished second with a 6-3 mark in the Pac-10 with a bid for the Holiday Bowl.

In his 35 years as a coach, Stoops has coached 28 bowl games and coached over 40 players in the NFL.

Mike Stoops, like Mark, played college football as a safety in Iowa. Mike received United Press International First Team All-America honors in 1984. He was also a two-time First Team All-Big Ten pick in 1983-84 and led the Big Ten in interceptions in 1983, a total of six in nine games. After graduating, he played in the National Football League as a defensive back with the Chicago Bears and the Atlanta Falcons. He began his coaching career in 1986 as a graduate assistant in Iowa before later moving to Kansas State from 1992-1998.

Stoops, 61, graduated from Iowa in 1987. He and his wife Erin have one daughter, Payton, and two sons, Colton and Ozzy.

Mike Stoop’s coaching career


Florida Atlantic

Defensive Coordinator/Safeties



quality control

Citrus Bowl, Rose Bowl (National Champions)



assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebacker

Orange peel, sugar bowl, rose peel, orange peel



assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs

Cotton Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl



head coach

Las Vegas Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Alamo Bowl



assistant Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs

Independence Bowl, Orange Bowl (National Champs), Cotton Bowl, Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl


State of Kansas

assistant Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs

Alamo bowl


State of Kansas

Co-defensive coordinator/defensive backs

Fiesta Bowl


State of Kansas

Co-defensive coordinator/defensive ends

cotton bowl


State of Kansas

Defensive Ends

Copper Bowl, Aloha Bowl, Christmas Bowl



Volunteer Assistant

Christmas bowl, peach bowl, rose bowl, Christmas bowl



Graduate Assistant

holiday bowl

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