Stoops outlines strategy for the first few days

The Mike Stoops era has not officially begun, but already things are taking shape. Stoops will assume coaching duties on Monday, but is already working on assembling a staff and starting to plan his recruiting strategy. Stoops took time out from preparations for the Big 12 Championship Game to address the Tucson media via a teleconference.

The details of Mike Stoops' salary are becoming public. The coach stands to make over $1 million if a variety of incentives are met.

"It was very smooth and very easy," Stoops said of the contract negotiations. "They want to win as bad as I do."

According to published reports Stoops will earn a base salary of $350,000 and another $300,000 for public relations duties that include public speaking engagements as well as his radio and television shows. Although nothing is finalized, it is believed that Stoops will earn right around $100,000 from Nike.

Other incentives include:

$150,000 if the team plays in the national championship game.
$100,000 if the team plays in any other BCS level bowl game.
$50,000 if the team plays in any other bowl game.
$25,000 if academic goals are met. These include a 3.4 team grade point average or an 84% of players graduating in six years or less.
Up to $90,000 if more than 45,000 season tickets are sold in any season.
Up to $60,000 if the average attendance is over 50,000.

At this time only Mark Stoops has been hired. The younger Stoops was defensive backs coach at Miami, but will serve as the Wildcats' defensive coordinator.

The Kansas City Star reported that Erick Harper, Kansas State's assistant athletic director for compliance would join the staff as director of football operations, but as of now that is not the case.

"That's not totally accurate," Stoops noted, not going into any other details.

The exact number that Stoops has to spend on hiring his assistant coaches has not been released, but it is over $1 million. Stoops says he is pleased with what he has to work with.

"We'll be in the upper half of the Pac-10," Stoops said of his assistants' salaries. "We have more than a fair opportunity to bring in a quality staff."

Stoops indicated that he will likely add another coach to his staff as early as Sunday night, but that an exact timetable is not in place.

"It will come slow," Stoops indicated. "I have good ideas. Some are finishing games." FIRST DAY ON THE JOB
Stoops will be in the office on Monday and has a full day ahead of him. In the morning he will have a lot of clerical work to do. He will then meet with the team and staff.

"We will lay down the groundwork of what's expected of them and myself," Stoops said.

Stoops' exposure to the team has been limited. He has met just a few players and the only game he has really watched was the ASU game. Watching game film of this team is not a top priority at this time. The bulk of his early work will be on the recruiting trail.

"The majority of my work will be to get the best players we can get," Stoops said.

He'll be on the road recruiting Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in both Arizona and California. He will be both meeting with recruits and establishing recruiting ties in the West.

Stoops is hitting the recruiting trail hard. He's had some contact with Arizona recruits and is working hard on developing relationships with others. The first order of business is to get kids to visit.

"We'll work hard on kids we don't have set for visits," Stoops said.

Both the high school and JC ranks will be explored. Stoops said that both linebacker and corner back are top priorities in the JUCO ranks, but that the team won't panic and bring in just any JC player.

"We're not going to take somebody without him being able to help us," Stoops said. "We'll evaluate a lot of tape to see who can best help us."

Players who have already verballed are not off limits.

"I feel you're entitled to call a kid now you're a head coach and explain the situation," Stoops said. "You see if there is any interest.

Stoops said if a player says there is indeed interested, then that player is fair game. If a player says his commitment is firm then he will make no further contact.

Stoops also indicated that the team will honor the commitments of the players who have already committed to the prior staff. The Cats have added a handful of players, but most of them are mid-level recruits.

"I think we have a good group to work with," Stoops said of the class-to-be. "We can add a full recruiting class as well as count back some JC's"

Stoops has already been in contact with the coaching staff at Pima Community College. Stoops indicated that it was just one step in letting in-state coaches know who he is and what he is about.

"I think you have to establish a great relationship with all of the schools in Arizona, both high schools and junior colleges."

Of course creating a relationship with Pima would serve other purposes. It is always valuable to have ties to a close JC in an effort to have a "safe" place to send players who are not quite ready to enroll in school.

"Everyone places kids where they are protected," Stoops said.

Stoops said that his wife will be out in mid-December to begin the house hunting process. The family won't fully relocate until after the recruiting season in early February.

The university has already sold several thousand season tickets since they announced the Stoops hiring.

"I don' think they've ever sold this many season tickets in December," Stoops said.

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