We'll stay in the assistant coaching ranks for our next look at a potential coaching candidate. It's a name that will be familiar but perhaps slightly less familiar at the same time. Everyone knows Bob Stoops and Mike Stoops, but what about Mark Stoops?
The younger brother of Mike and Bob, Mark has been around the game of football for most of his life just like the rest of them. Stoops has the pedigree, he's coached at some big time programs, he's coached with some big time coaches. Defense is his specialty and I don't think you'd find too many Kansas fans opposed to a defensive minded coach if it came down to that. Let's get to know a little more about Mark Stoops.
We'll work a little backward with Stoops as compared to our normal protocol and start with what he's doing today because it's impressive. Stoops has spend the last three seasons with the Florida State Seminoles who of course have transitioned from the Bobby Bowden era to the Jimbo Fisher era very recently.
Currently the Seminoles boast the 6th ranked defense in the country with a stout run defense and if you had a chance to watch Stoops' Seminoles take on Oklahoma early in the year you know that they play FAST and they are very physical. Those are traits that Stoops instilled in his defenses at Arizona when he was the defensive coordinator for his brother Mike early in his tenure.
During his six year tenure at Arizona the Wildcats had one of the strongest defenses in the Pac10 conference and often ranked very favorably on a National level. The Wildcats went to a bowl game in his final two seasons before his departure for Florida State. One name that many will remember is Antione Cason. Cason was an All American corner under Stoops in 2007.
Prior to his time at Arizona, Stoops was the defensive backs coach at the University of Miami in the early 2000's. In 2001, 2002 and 2003 the Miami defenses ranked 1st nationally in terms of pass defense. Obviously more goes into that and that time at Miami is now a bit tarnished but the team was successful on the field in an area that Stoops was largely responsible for. Stoops coached Ed Reed, Sean Taylor and Ed Buchanan during his Miami tenure.
Stoops also spent time at Houston and Wyoming but he got his start initially with South Florida under a name that popped up early on the Kansas fan radar, Jim Leavitt. This is where Mark Stoops and Sheahon Zenger have a connection. After receiving his Ph.D. Zenger went to work for Leavitt at South Florida as the recruiting coordinator for the brand new division one program.
Zenger and Stoops would both head to Wyoming after one season under Leavitt where Stoops would serve as defensive backs coach and Zenger would act as recruiting coordinator and eventually an assistant coach before Zenger would turn his attention back to administration. That's four seasons of work together for Stoops and Zenger and certainly in that time a relationship of some kind would have been developed.
If we're looking at Zenger's checklist Stoops gives us the pedigree, he's an assistant and has been at some big time programs and he's been at the game for while. X's and O's look to be solid although he's had some great talent every step of the way as well so that needs to be taken into consideration. Can he do more with less?