LEXINGTON – The contract of University of Kentucky football head coach Mark Stoops has been amended to extend through the 2018 season, UK Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart announced Tuesday.
The new agreement extends the term from Dec. 31, 2017 to June 30, 2019, giving the coach five years remaining on his contract.
“We are excited about the enthusiasm and recruiting success that Mark and his staff have brought to our football program,” Barnhart said. “We had the nation’s second-largest increase in attendance last season and we have had the two largest spring-game attendances in school history (in 2013 and 2014).
“In recruiting, Mark and his tireless assistant coaches have made an obvious impact with their first two classes and that momentum is carrying forward for 2015.”
When Stoops took over the program in December 2012, UK’s recruiting class was ranked in the 60s by the national evaluation services. But, in the next two months, Stoops and staff were able to secure 14 additional commitments, moving the needle for the 2013 signing class as high as No. 29 nationally.
With a full year to recruit the 2014 signing group, the Kentucky coaches landed a consensus national top-25 class, including a No. 17 ranking by Rivals.com, UK’s highest-rated class in the Internet era of recruiting evaluation.
In 2013, Stoops’ first season as head coach, Kentucky averaged 59,472 in attendance per game, an increase of 9,781 from the previous season and representing the second-best improvement in the nation. The two Blue/White Spring Games under Stoops have drawn crowds of more than 50,000 and 35,000, easily the two largest spring attendances in school history.
Additional momentum has been generated with UK’s football facilities. A $110 million renovation of Commonwealth Stadium has begun and is slated for completion for the 2015 season and a $45 million football complex has been approved and is going through the design stages.