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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Stoops’ firing: Necessary roughness

    If there was ever a time that the writing was on the wall, it was at the end of former head football coach Mike Stoops’ career at the UA. Whether after the team’s 10th consecutive loss to an FBS school or at the conclusion of a season that has started with a 1-5 record, Stoops was out and rightfully so.

    While Stoops certainly struggled to produce lately, his casualty was more than numbers-based. There is no denying the results of his tenure which included both the highs of three consecutive bowl appearances and the lows of a 27-38 conference record and a 9-24 record against top-25 teams. But the breaking point was that Stoops’ lack of success came amid large administrative changes at the UA.

    The face of college athletics at the UA is transforming from being historically regarded as solely a basketball school at the same time that the administration is restructuring. In a search for a permanent university president, and after the hiring of athletic director Greg Byrne back in March 2010, Stoops ultimately had no remaining ties to the UA’s athletic administration.

    Despite the objections of the players, it was not as though Stoops was a highly regarded or documented as a well-liked community figure. Aside from a quick, and rather dull, commercial for Vantage West Credit Union, there’s little in the way of appearances in the community that can be tied to Stoops. His sideline antics, while lauded as comical at times, didn’t do much help to his reputation with the local or national community. Ultimately, what kept Stoops around this long was his success with the program.

    Say what you want about where Stoops’ 8-5 teams rank in the history of UA football, they were undoubtedly significant. A program in the gutter was on the upswing. Unfortunately for Stoops, that raised expectations. Once that occurred, there was no going back. No room for patience anymore.

    Had the familiar faces of former UA President Peter Likins and former UA athletic director Jim Livengood still been around, perhaps their appreciation and connection to Stoops would have been strong enough to sustain his fiery attitude and struggles over the recent stretch. These were the men who hired him, and ultimately knew what they were getting.

    However, those faces are gone and it’s time for a new athletic director to forge his own path and establish himself now rather than later. This explains the timing of the firing.

    Byrne is defining his legacy at the UA. Don’t pretend that the massive scoreboard and Arizona Stadium expansions aren’t the first steps in that legacy. With that in mind, how can Byrne keep forging ahead with a bottom-feeding football program that just lost to one of the worst teams in the conference and doesn’t show any signs of improving in the near future?

    The administration, and for that matter the university, is undergoing massive changes that will dictate its future. The football program is most assuredly an integral part of that future. Football is one of the few collegiate sports that can turn a profit, alongside basketball, and ultimately the university has boosters to please and a stadium to fill.

    While it’s difficult to part ways with a man who at least moderately resurrected the program, it is no doubt necessary for the future of not only the program, but also the university.

    — Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Kristina Bui, Storm Byrd, Nicole Dimtsios and Steven Kwan. They can be reached at

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