Arizona President talks about decision

University of Arizona President Dr. Eugene G. Sander spoke with on Monday about the decision to fire Mike Stoops. Read on for his thought process, the next step, and more.

On Monday, University of Arizona President Dr. Eugene G. Sander spoke with about the relieving Mike Stoops of his duties as head football coach.

"Everything was evaluated as a package in making this change," Sander said. "I knew the man very well and we had an intelligent conversation on a variety of things. Again, I think it was time for a change after eight years.

"Greg (Byrne) called me and told me he was thinking of making a change on Sunday. My initial reaction was to say it was fine with me. I congratulated him on making a decisive decision. Something like this is painful for everybody, particularly the players, those are the folks I was most concerned about."

While the $1.4 million dollar buyout owed to Stoops is a concern to Sander, in the end, he knew that relieving the former coach of his duties is what had to be done.

"We're always worried about that kind of money," Sander said. "On the other hand, like Greg said, if you want to play and win in the big leagues, you have to do what you have to do."

Even though he is the highest ranking faculty member on the campus of the University of Arizona, Sander plans on delegating the power of finding UA's next football coach to athletic director Greg Byrne, and only plans on weighing in on the final decision.

"I don't anticipate that I'll be involved in the search itself, nor should I," Sander said. "To tell you the truth, I only know the names of a few outstanding coaches in the United States and I'm not an expert. We leave things like this to the experts, to people who know what they're doing.

"My role is to be supportive as I possibly can. The only thing to size up is do I have that person Greg and I agree would be a good representative of the University of Arizona."

With Byrne in control of the coaching search, Sander will only focus on the financial aspects of finding a new coach and how those details will effect the University of Arizona moving forward.

"I'll give Greg maximum flexibility," Sander said. "The question I will ask him is can we afford it? I have judiciary responsibilities to worry about those things, and I have to go in front of the Board of Regents and justify this based on what the institution can handle.

"Coaches salaries are generally paid by the athletic department, so there's no withdraw on appropriated funds or other funds of the university. Unfortunately the way it works, the buck stops with me, and my signature will be on the contract.

"Obviously at some point in time the President of the university will always have to sign off. I'll look at the contract, but on the other hand, things like this, any wise university President depends on excellent people within the university to deal with this sort of thing."

All that being said, Sander knows exactly what he'll be looking for in the man Greg Byrne eventually presents him to be Arizona's next football coach.

"I'm looking for a person who will be a good representative of the University of Arizona," Sander said. "Head football coach is a person you'd like to walk out in front of a group of people and represent the university very, very well, perhaps irrespective of the football program.

"I'm looking for someone that has that sort of leadership ability. I've always heard people describe the coaches at big time programs like this one as a person with almost CEO capabilities in terms of running assistant coaches and being a very smooth individual."

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