For the second time this week, Kentucky’s coach picked up a Coach of the Year honor.
In a vote of his fellow Southeastern Conference coaches, Mark Stoops was named the league’s top coach on Wednesday. Earlier this week, Stoops was given the same honor in a vote by the Associated Press.
After being named the Coach of the Year earlier this week, Stoops later tweeted how grateful he was for the support.
“I am humbled and reminded of what we talked about since we arrived at UK — it takes all of us, and I’m so grateful to the players, coaches, administrators and great fans who made this possible,” he posted on social media.
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In 2013, Stoops took over a struggling Kentucky program and steadily has helped the Cats improve each season, including a 9-3 record this season, the most wins for a UK team since 1984.
Kentucky has tied of improved its record every season since Stoops became head coach. UK is the only team nationally to tie or improve its win-loss record in each of the last six seasons, including this season.
After a 20-year hiatus, Stoops has guided the program back to its first New Year’s Day Bowl with the Cats playing in the Citrus Bowl versus Penn State.
Paul Bryant (1950), Fran Curci (1977) and Jerry Claiborne (1984) previously were named Associated Press coaches of the year by a group of media. Only Blanton Collier in 1954 won the coaches’ vote for Coach of the Year.
Stoops wasn’t the only one honored by the league’s coaches. Senior linebacker Josh Allen was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
Allen, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound linebacker, has 28.5 career sacks and 14 sacks in 2018, and holds UK’s career and single-season records. His 11 career forced fumbles tie former Wildcat and current Chicago Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan for UK’s career mark.