The Kentucky Wildcats were in dire straits before coach Mark Stoops rocked up in Lexington and turned the program around. He even managed a 10-win season in 2021 alongside a Citrus Bowl win. Stoops has recently been linked to college football’s most coveted job, the Texas A&M head coach position. So, if the speculation is correct, what are the details about the buyout of Mark Stoop’s contract?
Mark Stoops signed an improved contract last year in November that will run up to 2031. Under the contract, he was entitled to start earning $8.6 million per season in addition to his base pay of $400,000, making his total salary a $9 million package annually. There are various bonuses built into the contract. If the Wildcats make the college football playoffs, Stoops gets a $500,000 bonus. Stoops gets $650,000 if they make the national championship game and $800,000 for winning it. If his team wins eight games a season, he gets a $150,000 bonus and a $100,000 bonus for becoming bowl-eligible. His buyout increased from $1.75 million to $4.5 million in his improved contract. The caveat being that with each new season that he remained the Kentucky Wildcats’ football coach, it would decrease by $500,000.
The Texas A&M Aggies got the ball rolling on a new coach search when they sacked Jimbo Fisher with two games still to go and several names have been linked to the job. The latest name to be linked to the job is Mark Stoops. Appearing on College GameDay, ESPN analyst and CFB insider, Pete Thamel made the connection. “One name that’s expected to emerge in the next 24 hours is Kentucky coach Mark Stoops,” Thamel said. “He coaches a rivalry game against Louisville today, and the next 24 hours will be critical for his candidacy.” Texas A&M Aggies’ athletic director, Ross Bjork, outlined the qualities that the Aggies are looking for in their next coach in an appearance on Aggies Fan Zone radio recently. “This is not an 8-4 job. It’s not. Because of the decision we made (on Fisher), but also because of the resources and expectations. Does somebody have the wherewithal to deal with that, the weight of (the job) and the magnitude, and not get fazed and rattled, not panic, and if something doesn’t go right, they fix what they need to fix?” Mark Stoops has shown plenty of chops before as he turned around the Kentucky Wildcats, and he might just be the man to awaken a sleeping giant.