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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Foles, Wade surprised by Stoops’ firing, wish him luck

Will+Ferguson+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AThe+Oregon+Ducks+beat+the+Arizona+Wildcats+56-31+during+a+Saturday%2C+Sept.+24+match+at+the+UA+football+stadium+in+Tucson%2C+Arizona.+
Will Ferguson
Will Ferguson / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Oregon Ducks beat the Arizona Wildcats 56-31 during a Saturday, Sept. 24 match at the UA football stadium in Tucson, Arizona.

No one was more surprised about the dismissal of Arizona Wildcats head coach Mike Stoops than his players and staff.

For a team that has had a tumultuous 1-5 start to the season, the decision bred more uncertainty to the team’s future.

“It surprised us all, it distracted us all,” quarterback Nick Foles said. “We all love and support coach Stoops, but you know, we still got a lot of season left to play.”

“(The decision was) out of our control, the only thing we can do now is focus on our team and stick together.”

For Foles, the loss of Stoops represents more than just the loss of a head coach; it’s also the loss of a mentor who helped him mature into the dominant player he is today.

“Coach Stoops did so much for this program and I’ll always appreciate everything he’s done for me,” he said. “I know that we’re going to continue to play this season for him.”

The players were notified on Monday before athletic director Greg Byrne made the decision public.

According to Foles, a team meeting was called, during which Byrne quickly announced Stoops had been fired and that defensive coordinator Tim Kish would take over as interim head coach.

“Mr. Byrne came in and he told us what was going on,” Foles said. “He was pretty quick because he knew it was going to be tough on us.”

Arizona cornerback Trevin Wade noted that the response from his teammates came quickly, but he decided to keep his head down and think.

“It was real vocal,” Wade said. “I kind of wanted to just keep to myself and you know just think about it, don’t wanna say nothing you regret or anything.”

Wade was quick to praise Stoops, however, and wanted to make sure people realize how influential his former head coach was on him and the program as a whole.

“He meant a lot to me,” Wade said. “He gave me the opportunity to come to this school, he taught me a lot.”

“(He is) a coach that had a lot of pride in the game of football,” Wade continued. “He loved the game of football, he knew stuff before it came and he demanded the best.”

Despite being in limited contact, Foles was able to talk to Stoops on the phone after his dismissal.

“We talked for like 15 to 20 minutes. It’s pretty tough,” Foles said. “He’s been my head coach for the last several years and I really respect the man.

“He’s a great coach and I wish him the best of luck. I know he’s going to land somewhere and do something great, but we have to stick together through this time.”

Members of the team agreed it was time to move on and continue to fight through the rest of the season.

Wade emphasized that he, like everyone else on the team, still has a position to play.

“I still got to do my job,” he said. “We’re still here, everybody went through their grieving process. We decided yesterday to come out and practice and just play a little football.”

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