Coach: ‘No comment’ about rumors he’s linked to Iowa St. job
LAS VEGAS – Arizona might have to pay football coach Mike Stoops more money.
No matter what you think of the merits of that idea, that’s the marketplace. Stoops knows that. I’m sure he keeps track of all the wheeling and dealing on the coaching carousel.
New Mexico just hired Illinois offensive coordinator Mike Locksley for $750,000 a year. That’s for a first-time head coach at a Mountain West Conference school.
Auburn hired Iowa State head coach Gene Chizik and gave him a contract reportedly worth about $2 million per year. That’s for a guy who went 5-16 at Iowa State.
Stoops’ package at Arizona is worth about $800,000, plus incentives.
That’s for a coach who, while only 24-34 over five years, has shown he can stack together more than a few bricks in a major rebuilding process.
Let’s put it this way: Until Stoops makes more money at Arizona, there are going to be rumors such as the one that surfaced Thursday from a radio station in Des Moines. That report linked Stoops to negotiations with the vacant job at Iowa State.
Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood said Thursday afternoon he had not been contacted by Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard about that vacancy.
He could very well be telling the truth, but that doesn’t preclude the idea that someone at Iowa State reached out to Stoops via a third party.
After all, that is the method of contact Livengood said he is using right now in his search for a men’s basketball coach.
Chizik made a reported $1.1 million last season with the Cyclones, who lost their last 10 games.
Stoops, given the rising tide of coaches’ salaries – even in this economy – is underpaid. Like many people, coaches equate salary with appreciation.
Does Stoops feel underappreciated enough to chat with another school? Kick the tires? See if the grass is greener?
While he’s at it, Stoops could probably use some extra money for his assistants. Arizona has two coordinators – Mark Stoops for defense ($211,152) and Sonny Dykes for offense ($230,000) – who are considered hot properties ready to be raided by another school.
Now, is Iowa State a better job than Arizona? That doesn’t sound right – and why would Stoops want to rebuild anew?
But flirting – some might call it bluffing – with another school can fill an entire chapter in the coaching handbook.
Coaches do it all the time to get a sweeter deal from their current school. More money. More years.
Stoops, who gave a blanket “no comment” to the Iowa State rumors, has two years left on his Arizona contract. Livengood said Thursday that with the Las Vegas Bowl coming up on Saturday, this isn’t the right time to talk about an extension.
Schools often foolishly rush in to extend a coach’s contract – Arizona State did that with Dirk Koetter and fired him after the 2006 season less than a year later – so I don’t think that’s a necessary option with Stoops.
But if there is fire behind the smoke of this Iowa State rumor, Arizona might not have a choice . . . if it wants to keep him.
Anthony Gimino’s e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SATURDAY’S LAS VEGAS BOWL
Arizona (7-5) vs. No. 17 Brigham Young (10-2)
When: 6 p.m.
Where: Sam Boyd Stadium
Radio: 1290 AM, 107.5 FM
Line: UA by 3