Stoops on recruiting, renovations, staff

I’m on the road at the moment, but through the magic of email and the generous help of Ben Roberts (@NextCats), I’m able to bring you a full transcript of new Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops’ eight-minute meeting with the media. You can find that below:

ON THOUGHTS ABOUT THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF COMMONWEALTH STADIUM UPGRADES: “It’s exciting. It’s going to have a great impact on our program. It’s an exciting time for all the Big Blue Nation. It’s exciting for the fans, the students, for our players. It shows the commitment we have here to the football program and to the fans so it’s going to be an exciting time.”

ON REACTION RECRUITS WILL HAVE WHEN HE TELLS THEM ABOUT $110 MILLION FOOTBALL UPGRADES: “Again, I think it shows the commitment and that we’re serious about football, the administration is serious about football. It’s a tremendous commitment by a lot of people to make this happen so I think it will have a great impact.”

ON HOW UK HAS BEEN RECEIVED IN RECRUITING: “Things are going very well. We have a big group on campus here today, that’s why we have to make this relatively brief, but a big group and it’s been a great response. We’re very excited about the way recruiting is going and feel very good about putting this class together.”

ON USING THE RECRUITING AREA IN THE RENOVATED RUPP LOCKER ROOM THIS WEEKEND: “It shows that it’s first class. It shows that the university does things first class. It shows the commitment and it’s a great thing and exposure for our team, our players and our recruits to get a great feel for the basketball program and what we’re doing and to spend some time down here is good. We did use it once before another weekend for some kids but this is the first big weekend.”

ON IF THESE WERE THE TYPE OF IMPROVEMENTS HE THOUGHT WERE COMING WHEN HE TALKED ABOUT THE JOB: “Well, it did. Mitch and I did touch on that the first time we spoke. Again, I felt very comfortable with Mitch and I felt his commitment to the program. We did talk about that. It wasn’t the primary reason why I came here. I told you all that in the initial press conference, about my belief in this program, getting things done. This certainly helps. Everything Mitch and I talked about is coming true here.”

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF RECRUITING OHIO AND EARLY SUCCESS THERE: “I think it’s very important for us to get into Ohio, obviously Southern Ohio being very, very close. We consider that local. Again, with my ties to Northeastern Ohio and really all through Ohio it’s going to be very important to us. There’s tremendous football being played in Ohio. We want to treat that as home base. We’re going to work Ohio hard, along with Kentucky and really anything within close proximity to UK.”

ON IF HE’S GIVEN AD MITCH BARNHART ANY OF THE GUIDANCE BARNHART SAID HE WOULD LOOK FOR IN SPECIFICS ABOUT STADIUM RENOVATIONS: “I just think anything you do, it’s for the players. Much is placed on the emphasis on recruiting. That’s what helps you, is the players being comfortable and the players having a great facility. As you know, in all of our sports our athletes are here and with us a great deal of time and spend a lot of time in our complex. I think it’s the most important for our players to feel comfortable, to have them in a comfortable environment, with their locker room and just a facility where they can spend some time and feel good.”

ON THE FINAL MEMBERS OF HIS STAFF: “The addition of Derrick (Ansley) to coach our cornerbacks was a great addition. I was very impressed with Derrick. Had a chance to visit with three or four or five people about that position, and I always heard great things about Derrick. I had a chance to meet with him and interview him. He was exceptional. I felt like he was a guy that could bring something new to myself and coach (defensive coordinator D.J.) Eliot and bring something new to the defensive package. So, very impressed with him, both in technique and with scheme. He’s a young guy, but he’s been around some great people. Excited about Derrick. And then, Tommy (Mainord) with his background with Neal (Brown) was a no brainer for me.”

ON YOUNG STAFF. WAS THAT BY DESIGN OR HE JUST WANTED THE BEST GUYS HE COULD GET? “Best people. It really is. I said I think in the last presser that it was important for me to find hungry people, whatever age they were. But I think you have to find that blend of experience and young guys, up-and-coming guys that have a real attitude about them and that are excited to be here and ready to work the way we’re going to work. So I felt very good about the guys that we got.”

ON RECENT PLAYERS BEING DISMISSED: “Just violation of team rules. We’re going to do things right. We’re going to give every player the right opportunity and be fair to each and every player on our team. I’ll treat those players like I would expect one of my sons to be treated. So we’ll be very fair with them, but there will be some guidelines, and if they don’t meet them, they won’t be here.”

ON BRINGING IN ASSISTANTS FROM SUCCESSFUL PROGRAMS: “Well I think they’re excited to be here. We talk a lot – and I know y’all have been here – every place, the success that they’ve had in the past, that obviously helps. The bells and the whistles of facilities, that obviously helps. But it’s about the people that are in that building. It’s about the people that are going to affect the recruits, the players, and develop them to be better. I’ve touched on that before, but those are the guys I want, that believe in what we’re doing, that believe in the system and that believe they can help change the culture here. And change the players that we already have into winners and to recruit players to help us win championships. Those are the type coaches that we have on the staff now.”

ON THE STATUS OF RECENTLY ARRESTED OFFENSIVE TACKLE T.J. JONES: “I’m going to let the legal process work in that case. We’re just gathering information on that right now.”


About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at
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One Response to Stoops on recruiting, renovations, staff

  1. Robert Siegel says:

    We need to drastically improve recruiting in Northern KY! Too many great players have gone to out of state powers over the last 20 years. Northern Ky and Louisville produce the majority of our states best players. We have to tap back into this segment of our own state.