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’Cats fire Stoops

Tue., Oct. 11, 2011

Aide takes reins on interim basis

TUCSON, Ariz. – Football coach Mike Stoops has been fired halfway through his eighth season at Arizona.

Athletic director Greg Byrne announced Stoops’ dismissal at a news conference Monday evening, two days after the Wildcats lost their fifth straight game, 37-27, at previously winless Oregon State.

Dating to last season, Arizona has lost 10 of 11 games, the lone victory this season’s opener over Northern Arizona, a Football Championship Subdivision school. The Wildcats’ last win over a Football Bowl Subdivision team was Oct. 30, 2010, over UCLA.

The 49-year-old Stoops had a 41-50 record with the Wildcats. He was co-defensive coordinator on his brother Bob’s staff at Oklahoma before he was hired at Arizona.

His 2010 team started the season 7-1 but lost its last five, including a 36-10 blowout to Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl. Arizona, the only team in the old Pac-10 never to play in the Rose Bowl, had consecutive 8-5 seasons in 2008 and 2009.

“Coach Stoops had many successes as our head coach over the last eight seasons,” Byrne said in a news release. “It was a difficult decision but I feel now is the time for new leadership and direction.”

Byrne said the buyout for the remainder of Stoops’ contract will be about $1.4 million. His contract ran through the 2013 season under an extension granted in December 2008.

Defensive coordinator Tim Kish will serve as interim coach through the remainder of the season, Byrne said, while a national search for a coach is conducted.

“We will make the best decision for Arizona football, and we are open to a variety of candidates, but the next time you will hear anything from me about this search will be when we introduce our new coach,” he said.

Arizona does not play until a night home game Oct. 20 against UCLA.

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