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REPORT: Mark Stoops WON’T be Texas A&M’s next head coach

Never mind.

NCAA Football: Akron at Kentucky Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Never mind, nothing to see here.

It was well-known that Texas A&M would likely try to name a head coach before the transfer portal opened nationwide on Dec. 4, but I don’t think anyone thought it would be this fast. Just hours after the Aggies played their final regular season game of 2023, multiple outlets are reporting that the Aggies have found their next football coach: Kentucky’s Mark Stoops.

Stoops currently makes $9 million per season at Kentucky, and would have to pay a $4.5 million buyout to get out of his current contract with the Wildcats. It is not yet known what his contract details at A&M would be.

For many A&M fans, this may be viewed as a disappointing hire. Given that names like Dan Lanning, Ryan Day and Kalen DeBoer made the rounds, it’s understandable that Stoops is not on that level, image-wise. But he’s got more SEC experience than you could have possibly hoped for, and ultimately overachieved at a Kentucky program that was at near Vanderbilt levels of ineptitude before he arrived.

While Stoops very well could do well at A&M, this is no slam dunk hire. Stoops does have two 10-win seasons and two top 20 finishes under his belt at Kentucky, but also four losing ones (granted three of those were his first three years as he rebuilt the program). He’s also never finished better than 5-3 in SEC play.

If you’re an optimist, the hope is that Stoops can level up his performance at a program that commits resources to football at an elite level (which Kentucky certainly did not do). He’s a competent coach, and one who can likely improve this team in 2024. But whether or not he has the potential to lead this team to championships is very very much up for debate.

More to come as this reported hiring unfolds.