Kentucky rewards Stoops with another extension

The is the second extension Kentucky has given Mark Stoops, whose deal was pushed from a Dec. 31, 2017 expiration to June 30, 2019 in May.

Mark Zerof/Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

With Kentucky on track for its first bowl game in four years and the first season with more than two SEC victories since 2009, Mark Stoops was rewarded Friday with a contract extension.

Wildcats athletic director Mitch Barnhart announced the deal, which pushes the end of Stoops’ deal from June 30, 2019 to June 30, 2020. That gives the second-year coach five seasons left on his current deal.

Beginning Nov. 1, Stoops will earn a pro-rated $3 million for this season, with that figure increasing by $250,000 each year through the end of the contract. There is no buyout clause and Stoops stands to make $18.75 million over the next five years.

"Mark is guiding our program in the direction we all want it to go and we are proud to reward that," Barnhart said. "I was confident Mark was right for this job when I hired him, but he has exceeded my expectations. From leading a group of young men, to recruiting, to fundraising, to becoming an important part of the Lexington community, Mark has embraced and excelled in all facets of being Kentucky football head coach."

Stoops has already made a significant impact on the Wildcats, going from 2-10 overall and 0-8 in his debut season to 5-3, 2-3 this year heading into Saturday’s trip to Missouri.

He’s also improved the talent base, bringing in Scout.com’s 21st-rated class last February and the current crop sits 20th behind six four-star prospects, headlined by the seventh-ranked tight end available, C.J. Conrad of Keystone High School (LeGrange, Ohio).

"I am excited about the progress our team has shown on the field, but this is as much about the next five years as it is the last one and a half," Barnhart said. "As I’ve said before, I believe we can compete at the highest level in the toughest conference. Mark is the coach to take us there."