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NCAAF: Mark Stoops to leave for Florida State following Holiday Bowl

December 14, 2009

Michael Ignatov/Arizona Daily Wildcat UA defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, left, will head to Florida State after Arizona's Holiday Bowl game against Nebraska.UA defensive coordinator Mark Stoops will take the same position at Florida State after the Wildcats’ Dec. 30 game against Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl.

Stoops was considered to be a top candidate to take the head coaching position at Youngstown State but decided to become the defensive coordinator for the Seminoles.

“I just felt like Florida State was the right situation for me,” Stoops said. “I think with the tradition that they have and the players in the state of Florida, it just felt like it was the right move for me.”

Stoops, 42, has previous coaching experience in Florida as he was the secondary coach for Miami from 2001-03. While he said he thinks it’s a good situation for him in Tallahassee, it was far from an easy choice to leave Tucson.

“It’s hard to just pick up and move,” Stoops said. “When you care so much about a program, when you’ve invested so much in a program, it’s very, very close to me and working with my brother, those are all hard decisions.

“I just felt like this was the right opportunity at the right time. Other times when you talk about leaving here it just didn’t sit well with me. It just felt like there was too much unfinished business,” he added. “As I told the players, I can leave here with my head held high knowing that I worked extremely hard to help this program. I’m just small piece to help turn this program (around). There’s a lot of people who have done a lot of hard work and a lot of great things and I’m just proud to be a part of it.”

Stoops said his brother, UA head coach Mike Stoops, was very supportive throughout the whole process. Mike Stoops echoed those sentiments when approached about the situation after a Dec. 12 practice.

“I know it’s a tough decision, but I think it’ll be good for Mark to be on his own and to help develop Florida State. I think it’s a good move for him personally and professionally and to grow and be on his own,” Mike Stoops said. “He’s done some awfully special things here, and certainly being a defensive head coach I sometimes get credit for that, and really Mark has developed his skills as a coach over the last three or four years. He’s really grown in a lot of ways and I think he’ll continually grow in this position.”

Mark Stoops told the Arizona players of his decision before the Dec. 12 practice, and while some of the Wildcats might have come to Tucson to play for him there didn’t appear to be any ill will towards their soon-to-be former defensive coordinator.

“He has kids and his wife and everything, so it might just be a great job for him family wise. I just feel like if he had a great opportunity at hand then he should take it, no hard feelings,” said sophomore safety Robert Golden. “… We still have coach Mike Stoops and I know when he brings in a secondary coach he’ll be a great guy for us. It’s all good. I support coach Mark Stoops 100 percent. He taught me a lot so I’m proud of him and his new coaching job.”

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