UK Football

Where is Mark Stoops in process of filling UK’s new assistant coach spot?

Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops watches from the sideline in the first half of the Music City Bowl NCAA college football game against Northwestern, Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops watches from the sideline in the first half of the Music City Bowl NCAA college football game against Northwestern, Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) AP

As names of new assistant coaches around the country trickle out, Kentucky’s Mark Stoops says he’s still in no hurry to add a newly created 10th assistant coach.

“I’m not close to hiring anybody,” the UK head coach told the Herald-Leader on Friday.

“I don’t feel the pressure right now. I feel like there’s some movement. Some guys I’ve talked, some are NFL guys and I don’t feel any pressure right now.”

The Cats are in good shape as far as recruiting, with 20 players already signed and sealed, so there’s no hurry to grab up an assistant to help out with last-minute recruiting.

“I’m going to wait, let it shake out and get the best available guy that I can,” said Stoops, who has said several times he wants that coach to be on the defensive side of the ball. “I want to make sure I get the right guy and the right fit.”

One name Stoops confirmed is on his long list of possible candidates is John Jancek, the former Tennessee defensive coordinator who has been a consultant for Stoops’ staff this past season.

The position was posted on the university’s job board two months back for procedural purposes with a closing date, but that did not mean Stoops made any hires.

There’s some natural attrition at this time of the year and assistant coaches Lamar Thomas (wide receivers) and Steve Clinkscale (secondary) have contracts that run out on June 30.

Many personnel moves happen shortly after the annual coaches’ convention, which started on Sunday in Charlotte.

The Cats have five offensive coaches in coordinators Eddie Gran (running backs) and Darin Hinshaw (quarterbacks) as well as Vince Marrow (tight ends/recruiting), John Schlarman (line) and Thomas.

UK has four defensive coaches in coordinator Matt House (inside linebackers), Dean Hood (special teams/outside linebackers), Derrick LeBlanc (line) and Clinkscale.

Stoops, a former defensive coordinator and secondary coach, also has his hands in the planning and coaching on that side of the ball. But it needs more, he said in an interview before the bowl.

“In this day and age with the difficulties of defending such multiple offense and the challenge of all that it just makes sense for me to hire a defensive guy,” he said in December.

Stoops has pondered several different angles including whether he’s looking for a more X’s and O’s type coach, a recruiting guru or an overall, big-picture kind of coach.

“There’s several options I could go with,” he said. “I’m just going to sit on it for a minute and work our way through it and see what shakes out.”

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