The Washington Post

Arizona fires Mike Stoops as football coach

Mike Stoops got the boot at Arizona. (Don Ryan/AP)

The Wildcats faced a brutal early schedule with a road trip to No. 9 Oklahoma State followed by home dates against No. 6 Stanford and No. 10 Oregon.

But Saturday’s 37-27 loss to previously winless Oregon State dropped Arizona to 1-5 and ultimately cost Stoops his job.

The Stoops era began with incremental progress, then from 2008-10, the Wildcats played in three consecutive bowl games for just the second time in the program’s history. Arizona tied for second on the Pac-10 in 2009 for its highest finish in 11 years.

But after a 7-1 start landed the Wildcats in the top 10 last fall, the team lost five straight to end the season and suffered an embarassing 35-0 blowout by Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl.

“When I took this job, I was hoping to be the first coach to lead this program to a Rose Bowl,” Stoops said in a statement issued by his agent, Neil Cornrich. “Although we fell short of that goal, we made significant progress, and our organization continues to strive for excellence.”

Stoops went 41-50 during his 6 1/2 years in Tuscon. He will be replaced by defensive coordinator Tim Kish for the rest of the season. If the university was going to make a move mid-season, this was the time to do it. The Wildcats don’t play again until Oct. 20 against UCLA, giving Kish time to try to get the team back on track.

Matt Brooks is the high school sports editor for The Washington Post. He's an Arlington native and longtime District resident and was previously a high school sports reporter, editor for several blogs and Early Lead contributor with The Post.


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