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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Livengood, Stoops to return”

    oach Mike Stoops looks on from the sidelines during the Wildcats 37-24 victory over UCLA on Saturday at Arizona Stadium. President Robert Shelton assured both Stoops and athletics director Jim Livengood that their jobs are safe for another year.
    oach Mike Stoops looks on from the sidelines during the Wildcats’ 37-24 victory over UCLA on Saturday at Arizona Stadium. President Robert Shelton assured both Stoops and athletics director Jim Livengood that their jobs are safe for another year.

    Arizona football head coach Mike Stoops will lead the Wildcats for at least one more season.

    After the Wildcats’ 21-20 loss to Stanford on Oct. 20, it may have seemed that Stoops’ job was no longer secure. Same with UA athletic director Jim Livengood, who hired Stoops in 2003.

    But after consecutive Arizona victories over Washington and UCLA, their jobs are no longer in jeopardy.

    UA President Robert Shelton told the Arizona Daily Star on Monday night that both Stoops and Livengood will return next season. They are each under contract with Arizona through 2010.

    Shelton did not return phone calls Monday.

    “”I conveyed that very quickly in a person-to-person conversation with each of them,”” Shelton said in the Star. “”I didn’t call any special meeting. When we were together, I said, ‘I think you’re running this program well. Don’t believe what anybody says I’m saying.’ “”

    Though Stoops may have been under an immense amount of pressure given the Wildcats’ lackluster start to the season – Arizona is now 4-6, 3-4 Pacific 10 Conference – he said he wasn’t worried about the circulating rumors regarding his job.

    “”I wasn’t planning on anything else,”” Stoops said yesterday of returning as head coach next season. “”My job is to try and prepare and try and win football games every time we step on the field, and that’s what we have done every day we have been here.

    “”I think we have a much better program than before we got here.””

    With next year’s recruiting class hurt by the uncertainty of who will be strolling the sidelines next year, Shelton’s comments could have a positive effect on Arizona’s recruiting cause – especially after four-star running back Ryan Bass verbally committed to the university Sunday. The Wildcats’ top two players from their 2008 class, athlete Gerell Robinson and defensive back Robert Golden, have withdrawn their verbal commitments since the start of this season.

    “”The president felt like he needed to say that, and I am happy,”” Stoops said. “”I plan on being here for a lot longer than a year’s period of time, that’s for sure. … I am not worried about what other people say.””

    Cason named semifinalist for Jim Thorpe Award

    Cornerback Antoine Cason, arguably one of Arizona’s most consistent players, is starting to reap the benefits of his labor.

    Cason has been named one of the 12 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, an annual national award that honors the nation’s top defensive back. This is his second consecutive year as a semifinalist.

    Cason decided not to enter April’s NFL draft to return to Arizona for his senior season.

    He is one of two semifinalists representing the Pac-10, along with UCLA’s Trey Brown. Also included on the list are Notre Dame’s Tom Zbikowski, Ohio State’s Malcolm Jenkins, LSU’s Craig Steltz and Oklahoma’s Reggie Smith.

    “”Antoine is having another exceptional year and does so many positive things on the football field,”” Stoops said. “”His play really speaks for itself, and he is one of the premiere defensive backs in all of football and he proves it every Saturday.””

    Cason has started all 44 games of his career and leads the team with four interceptions – including one at Oregon State on Oct. 6 that he took back 60 yards for a touchdown. He ranks third on the squad in tackles with 62 and has forced two fumbles.

    The list will be narrowed down to three finalists Nov. 19, and the winner will be announced Dec. 6.

    “”He is an exceptional player, and it is good to see that he is being recognized,”” Stoops said. “”Sometimes, when you don’t win, you don’t get those individual accolades, and he is a guy who is very deserving.””

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