When he can manage the time, Mark Stoops likes to start his day by dropping his son Will off at school about 7:15.
Wednesday was different. Mark Stoops was up a little before 6 and on into the office. After all, Wednesday was college football's national signing day.
You may wonder what a college football coach does on national signing day. The recruiting is over. No more official visits or home visits or sweet-talking, at least for the most part.
All that's left is for the coaches to stand by the fax machine and wait for those signed national letters of intent to start coming into the office. Only this is 2015, and fax machines are pretty much a thing of the past.
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"It's scanned," said Stoops while in his office on Wednesday morning. "We still call it a fax, but it's scanned (PDF) and sent that way. I'm old school so I still go by calling it 'fax it in.' The majority of them are scanned in, but you still get a few faxed in."
In the meantime, on the morning of signing day, Stoops did interviews. He did an interview for the athletic department's live-stream coverage. He did a radio show interview. At 1 p.m., he met with print and television media for a news conference.
It's all part of putting, as Stoops called it, "the bow" on the 2015 class, a class that in the past couple of weeks saw plenty of alterations. Longtime UK commitments abruptly changed their minds and pledged to other schools, usually schools with more football tradition.
"I learned from my brother Bob a long time ago not to get too high or too low about some of this," said Mark of Oklahoma's head coach. "We'd be lying if you said it didn't affect you to some extent. Because you've got to realize one thing with recruiting, it is personal. You build a lot of strong, personal relationships with the guys."
We're talking about hours upon hours of coaches evaluating a player, getting to know the high school coach, getting to know the family, taking countless trips to the hometown, to the school.
"You feel like you have a pretty good read on somebody, and then it flips on you," Stoops said. "It is personal, and it does affect you a little bit."
There's no time to mope, however. When it's time to line up and play, no one is going to feel sorry for you.
"You certainly cannot dwell on it very long," Stoops said. "I have to start with myself and then relay to the staff that it's on to the next guy. Let's not dwell on the guys we didn't get. Let's embrace the guys we did get."
Once that "fax" arrives, the new signee normally calls to make sure everything made it to the office OK. Then Stoops gets on the phone to give the official congratulations.
Some are heralded prospects every scouting service touted. Some are the under-the-radar guys, however, the ones that might have been overlooked for one reason or another.
"I think coaches get more satisfaction out of that in the long run," Stoops said. "When the player produces years down the road, then you're going to say, 'I found him and I always knew he was going to be a good player.' Those are the good stories, they really are."
Wouldn't you like to be the coach at West Alabama who found Malcolm Butler, the undrafted rookie who made the interception that won the Super Bowl for New England? You think that coach wasn't jumping around his TV room Sunday night?
Then there are the signees who make a coach smile for a different reason. There's the kid whose family or economic circumstances maybe aren't the best and who needs an opportunity to get an education and make a better life. Football is a way to do that.
"There are a certain percentage of those guys in every class," Stoops said. "Some of the guys that come from the toughest situations and make it, you look back on it years later and that's absolutely what you're most proud of."
That all starts with signing day.