Kentucky’s Mark Stoops gets raise, contract extended to 2031

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky coach Mark Stoops has signed an amended contract extension through June 2031 that in February will boost his base annual salary to $8.6 million plus incentives.

The 10th-year coach, who is earning $6.35 million this season, signed the new deal on Nov. 11, a day before the Wildcats fell 24-21 to Vanderbilt. It replaces the previous extension signed last December that ran through June 2028 and deletes the clause that automatically extended his contract by one year if Kentucky won seven games and by two years for 10 wins.

The deal increases Stoops’ buyout from $1.75 million to $4.5 million if he leaves the program before June 30, with decreases of $500,000 before June 30 each subsequent year.

Athletic director Mitch Barnhart said in a news release dated Nov. 18 that was posted on the school’s website that the agreement had been in the works for more than a month and added that continuity was “more and more important in today’s landscape.”

Stoops said in the release that he wanted to affirm his commitment and added, “I’ve loved it here and am excited for our future.”

The revised contract includes bonuses for reaching College Football Playoff semifinal games ranging from $300,000 to $800,000 for winning the national championship.

Already Kentucky’s longest-tenured coach, Stoops (65-58) surpassed Paul “Bear” Bryant as its career wins leader with his 61st in a victory over Florida in September. The Wildcats began 4-0 and reached No. 7 in the AP Top 25 but have since lost five of seven, including Saturday’s 16-6 home defeat against top-ranked Georgia to finish 3-5 in Southeastern Conference play.

Kentucky closes the regular season on Saturday against rival Louisville before awaiting its school-record seventh consecutive bowl assignment.

Texas State hires Incarnate Word coach Kinne to lead Bobcats

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Texas State hired Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne on Friday to lead a Sun Belt program that has had only one winning season since moving up to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The 34-year-old former Tulsa quarterback has made a fast rise in coaching since ending his professional career in 2017.

After three years as an offensive analyst at SMU, Arkansas and the Philadelphia Eagles, Kinne became offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2020. He held the same role for UCF in 2021 before landing the head coaching job at FCS Incarnate Word this season.

Incarnate Word is 10-1 and averaging 53 points and 8.3 yards per play, both FCS highs, heading into its playoff game Saturday against Furman. Kinne will remain with Incarnate Word through their playoff run.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said. “We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas. Eat ‘Em Up!”

Texas State fired Jake Spavital last week after the Bobcats won just 13 games in his four seasons.

Kinne signed a five-year contract, the school said. Terms were not immediately released.

“My goal was to hire someone with demonstrated leadership experience, success as a head coach, established relationships with Texas football coaches, and success with recruiting and developing players,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse. “I sought a leader with a plan to capitalize on our location in the heart of the best high school football in the country.”

Florida Atlantic hires Tom Herman as football coach

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Herman will take over at Florida Atlantic as it heads into its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

The hire comes just days after FAU fired Willie Taggart, who went 15-18 in his three seasons with the Owls. Details of the contract with Herman were not immediately available.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tom Herman to Paradise,” FAU Director of Athletics Brian White said Thursday. “Throughout the process and the more we talked with Coach Herman, the more it became apparent to me that he was the right person to lead our football program. Beyond his knowledge of the game, which is obvious by his success over the years, he also truly cares about the young people in his program.”

FAU’s final season in Conference USA ended with a 5-7 record and an overtime loss to Western Kentucky. The Owls will be in the American next season.

Herman returns to college football after spending the 2021 season with the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.

Herman was 22-4 at Houston, a mark that helped him land the head coaching job at Texas where he went 32-18 with four straight bowl trips in 2017-2020. He also was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ 2014 national championship season, as well as stops at Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

“All the pieces are in place at FAU for us to be successful,” Herman said. “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”