As we count down the days until kickoff (50 to go!), ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg undertook the arduous task ranking all 130 coaches in the FBS…by their playing careers. Where did Mark Stoops, a former defensive back for the Iowa Hawkeyes, rank? Almost smack dab in the middle at No. 67.
67. Mark Stoops, Kentucky Wildcats: Stoops followed his older brothers Bob and Mike to Iowa, where he, too, played defensive back. He earned three letters from 1987 to 1989, had two interceptions and played for four Hawkeye bowl teams.
A few years ago on an SEC Teleconference, Stoops was asked if he, the coach, would recruit him, the player.
“Probably not, to be honest with you,” Stoops said, laughing. “Probably not. Things have changed. Guys are bigger, stronger, faster and it’s a good thing I came out in the 80s. I could hang a little bit. But I’m not sure I’d recruit myself right now. I’d hope not.”
When it comes to the SEC, Stoops ranks sixth, ahead of Nick Saban and Dan Mullen. (Take that, Saban!)
3. Josh Heupel, Tennessee (QB, Oklahoma)
13. Kirby Smart, Georgia (DB, Georgia)
15. Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M (QB, Samford)
28. Sam Pittman, Arkansas (DE, Pittsburg State)
53. Ed Orgeron, LSU (DL, LSU/Northwestern State)
67. Mark Stoops, Kentucky (DB, Iowa)
71. Nick Saban, Alabama (DB, Kent State)
73. Dan Mullen, Florida (TE, Ursinus College)
89. Clark Lea, Vanderbilt (FB, Vanderbilt)
101. Shane Beamer, South Carolina (WR/LS, Virginia Tech)
106. Bryan Harsin, Auburn (QB, Boise State)
111. Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss (QB, Fresno State)
126. Eliah Drinkwitz, Missouri (LB, Alma High School)
129. Mike Leach, Mississippi State (Rugby, BYU)
Former Kentucky wide receiver turned West Virginia head coach Neal Brown is No. 86. Louisville’s Scott Satterfield, a former quarterback at Appalachian State, is No. 34. Given his track record of whining about hand gestures, I think Stoops could still take him.
If you have an ESPN Insider account, you can see the entire list at the link below.