UK extends Stoops' deal through 2018

Kentucky Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart announced Tuesday that the contract of football head coach Mark Stoops has been extended through the 2018 season.

Kentucky Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart announced Tuesday that the contract of football head coach Mark Stoops has been extended through the 2018 season.

The new agreement extends the term from Dec. 31, 2017, to June 30, 2019, giving Stoops five years remaining on his contract. He'll make $2.1 million this season, $2.2 million next season and $2.3 million in 2016, all years which were covered by the original contract. The new deal will pay him $2.5 million and $2.65 million in 2017 and 2018.

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"We are excited about the enthusiasm and recruiting success that Mark and his staff have brought to our football program," Barnhart said in a statement released by the school. "We had the nation's second-largest increase in attendance last season and we have had the two largest spring-game attendances in school history (in 2013 and 2014).

"In recruiting, Mark and his tireless assistant coaches have made an obvious impact with their first two classes and that momentum is carrying forward for 2015."

Kentucky went just 2-10 during Stoops' first year on the sidelines, but the Wildcats made waves by signing two impressive recruiting classes in 2013 and 2014. The latter, a consensus Top 25 haul, was considered the best in school history by many long-time observers.

The Cats also saw drastic improvements in home attendance, averaging 59,474 fans in 2013, an increase of 9,781 from the previous season. More than 50,000 fans attended his first Blue-White Spring Game in 2013 and another 35,000 attended this year's spring game despite the massive renovation project at Commonwealth Stadium that had half the stadium closed to the public.


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