A sampling of opinion from around the internet on the firing of Arizona Wildcats head football coach Mike Stoops:
Matt Hinton, Dr. Saturday
Maybe the low expectations of a “rebuilding year” are part of the problem in and of themselves — after eight years, who’s still “building” on such a scale that justifies a regression below .500? The sense of stagnation is very real. Maybe new athletic director Greg Byrne took a look at the ashes-to-glory trajectory at Stanford over the last five years and thought, “Why not us?” Maybe he’s got the next Jim Harbaugh lined up to take the reins in 2012, and all of Stoops’ defenders are going to look like shortsighted sentimentalists in three or four years. Then again, maybe he has the next Walt Harris, or Tyrone Willingham, or John Mackovic, and Wildcat fans will be reminded in short order just why they were so patient with Stoops in the first place.
Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com
It’s a bit easier to be screaming, raving sideline madman when you win.
That was the lesson we learned from midseason casualty No. 2 on Monday night. Arizona’s Mike Stoops was fired abruptly after 7 1/2 seasons. Ask Woody Hayes or Bob Knight about sideline demeanor. Sure, their personality flaws eventually led to each coach’s downfall, but winning allowed them to be enabled for a long time.
Not so much with Mike Stoops.
Greg Hansen, Arizona Daily Star
Sometimes firing a coach is a relief. That’s the way it was with the petulant Mackovic in 2003. Sometimes it is a tear-fest, as it was when Dick Tomey was told his brand no longer generated enough excitement at the old stadium.
Stoops, 49, is somewhere in between. He insisted on isolating himself, off-limits to the public and media, roaring into town with an I-don’t-trust-you demeanor rather than cultivating the average Joe.
Ted Miller, ESPN.com
In the Hemingway novel, “The Sun Also Rises,” a character is asked how he went bankrupt. He replies, “Two ways … gradually and then suddenly.”
And so we have the firing of Arizona coach Mike Stoops midway through his eighth season Monday.
On Oct. 30 of last year, Arizona won at UCLA and improved to 7-1 overall. The Wildcats, then ranked 13th in the AP poll, were headed to Stanford for a marquee showdown. The program’s first-ever Rose Bowl was in play. Stoops was coming off consecutive eight-win seasons. He appeared to be on the cusp of becoming a hot coaching prospect.
But the Wildcats were slammed 42-17. It would be the first of 10 consecutive losses to FBS teams. As the losses piled up, “hot” became the way to describe Stoops’ seat instead of his prospects.
Steve Rivera, FoxSportsArizona.com
It was a move that had to be made. At some point, Arizona AD Greg Byrne had to make the call to say it wasn’t working.
Not just the football team’s losing record under coach Mike Stoops. Byrne had to think of Arizona’s athletic department and the future of the program with fan dissention and possible defections after UA’s 1-5 start.
Where Byrne goes now, in trying to find Arizona’s 29th football coach after firing Stoops on Monday, is anyone’s guess. The last time he had to find a coach was 2008, when he was at Mississippi State and hired Dan Mullen away from Florida.
Mike Schmitz, Arizona Daily Wildcat
Mike Stoops did exactly what he was supposed to do.
He lifted Arizona football out of the gutter and turned it into a legitimate program, bringing the Wildcats from a two-win team in 2003 to three consecutive bowl games for only the second time in program history.
He made Arizona football relevant again, which seemed impossible nearly a decade ago.
“Coach Stoops did what he was hired to do,” said former defensive end Ricky Elmore, who was surprised to hear of the firing. “He came in and turned the program into a winning program again.”
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Also check out WildcatSportsReport.com’s Gray Randazzo, who talked to Arizona’s top committed recruit — tight end Taylor McNamara. “It’s sad, I’m pretty bummed to hear about it,” McNamara said. “I really respect coach Stoops and his staff.”
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And it’s probably safe to say Stoops will be missed around the league, but not for his eloquent comments on the Pac-12 coaches teleconference with the media. Wrote Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News-Tribune:
“This really bothers me. He was a go-to person when I needed a cheap joke during my weekly Pac 12 picks.”