"This is an incredible challenge, and it is an opportunity to rebuild a football program that had national prominence in the 1990's and a team that was noted for having great defenses, something that I truly have a great passion for, obviously," Stoops said. "Playing defense is what our whole family has been all about. We would love to restore the passion that the 'Desert Swarm' defenses of the 90's created. We want that type of attitude and toughness on this football team. If we are going to be successful, that is going to be paramount."
Stoops noted that he wanted to instill a winning attitude, a family atmosphere and a newfound sense of discipline and hard work.
"The things that you can expect from this football team, this staff and our players is a team that will play with great pride and great passion," Stoops announced. "It will be a team that will be well prepared. Every team that I have been associated with has been as well prepared as any team that we have played against. It will be a disciplined football team where we will play with great discipline in all aspects of the game. All kids enjoy discipline, and we will work constantly on having a very disciplined football team."
Stoops, 41, has spent five seasons with the Sooners as a major contributor to brother Bob Stoops' staff. In his second year in Norman, OU won the national championship with a victory over Florida State in the Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma has been in the national title spotlight each year since.
Defenses coached by Stoops at Oklahoma and Kansas State have routinely placed in the top 10. A coach since 1987, Stoops has appeared in 15 bowl games. He also made four bowl appearances as a collegiate standout with Iowa.
Stoops took time to thank his mentors. He spent generous amounts of time thanking Hayden Frye, his former coach at Iowa, plus Bill Snyder and his brother Bob, the last two head coaches that he worked for.
Stoops will rejoin the Oklahoma staff on Monday and coach through the Big 12 Championship game. That following Monday he will return to Tucson full time, serving as a consultant to the Sooners through their bowl game. Bob Stoops told ESPN that during the late December dead period in recruiting that Mike would return to Norman to assist with Bowl preparations.
This is Stoops' first head coaching job. He is Arizona's 28th head coach. He is the second-youngest head coach. Larry Smith was 40 when he took the job in 1980
Stoops was joined at the press conference by his wife Nicole, his daughter Peyton and his son Colton.
*Many of the players were out of town for the remainder of the Thanksgiving vacation, but three players made it to the announcement. TE Matt Padron, QB Kris Heavner and WR Ricky Williams all introduced themselves to their new coach. Stoops took time to talk with all three.