Television and radio stations in Des Moines are reporting multiple sources are saying Arizona head football coach Mike Stoops is a serious candidate to become Iowa State’s next coach.
Stoops’ team plays BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl, the Wildcats’ first bowl under his direction.
It snowed in Vegas Wednesday, so Stoops could make the adjustment to Ames fairly easily.
Who is Mike Stoops? Well, he played football at Iowa, like his brothers Bob and Mark. Bob Stoops, you may have heard, has been a fairly prominent head coach at Oklahoma. Mark Stoops is Mike’s defensive coordinator at Arizona.
But what about Mike?
His five-year record at Arizona, down-and-out when he got there, is 23-33. He was an assistant coach at Iowa from 1986 to 1991, at Kansas State from 1992 to 1998, and at Oklahoma from 1999 to 2003.
His Arizona teams have gone 3-8, 3-8, 6-6, 5-7 and 7-5. His Pac-10 record is 16-25. This year’s 5-4 conference mark was his best.
He turns 47 on New Year’s Eve.
“Each program is different and I think each one has unique challenges within itself,” Stoops said after Wednesday’s practice in Las Vegas. “I think it’s always up to the administrators to look at their team, to see if they’re headed in a positive direction. And I think that’s evident by the way (we) play; by the way the kids present themselves; the way they compete. And then it becomes an individual choice. Coaches, we just try to do the best we can.”
“… some programs take longer than others, let’s face it,” Stoops said this week. “There’s only so many Oklahomas, Texases and USCs. The rest of us have to work very hard. … but until you get over the hump there’s always going to be pressure.”
Stoops’ offensive coordinator the last two years has been Sonny Dykes, who was co-offensive coordinator at Texas Tech before moving to Tucson.
The Wildcats averaged 37.1 points and 401.2 yards per game this season, up from 28 and 385.2 last year.
“That’s what any good coach does; you’ve got to manipulate your offense to get the ball to the players who can make plays,” Stoops said Wednesday. ”This has been a little bit of an adjustment for us finding an identity. It’s taken a little bit of time, but I feel like we understand our personnel very well.”
Now the multi-year, multi-million dollar question: Why would Stoops leave a program he has worked hard to build to semi-respectability to start all over at Iowa State?
You got me.
Many coaches (and their agents) don’t mind having their names in these discussions. Any kind of leverage is good leverage, and who wouldn’t want to be regarded as a desirable commodity?
Then again, how warm is Arizona Athletic Director Jim Livengood to keeping Stoops aboard? It isn’t as if Tucson is ga-ga for Wildcat football at this moment, Las Vegas Bowl or not.
In a side note, David Hasselhoff will sing the national anthem at the Las Vegas Bowl. That is one hard-and-fast truth amid all the rumor-mongering, scuttlebutt and he-said-she-said stuff.