Kentucky’s Mark Stoops gets pay raise, contract extended to 2031

LEXINGTON, Kentucky — Kentucky coach Mark Stoops has signed an amended contract extension through June 2031 that will increase his annual base salary to $8.6 million plus incentives in February.


what you need to know

  • The deal increases Mark Stoops’ buyout from $1.75 million to $4.5 million if he exits the program before June 30
  • The revised contract provides bonuses for reaching College Football Playoff semifinals ranging from $300,000 to $800,000
  • With the deal, Stoops became the sixth highest-paid coach in college football
  • Kentucky wraps up the regular season against rival Louisville on Saturday

The 10th-year coach, who earns $6.35 million this season, signed the new contract on Nov. 11, a day before the Wildcats lost 24-21 to Vanderbilt. It replaces the previous extension signed last December that ran through June 2028 and deletes the clause that automatically extended his contract for a year if Kentucky won seven games and two years for 10 wins. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the deal makes Stoops the sixth-highest-paid coach in college football, behind Alabamba’s Nick Saban, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Georgia’s Kirby Smart, LSU’s Brian Kelly and Michigan State’s Mel Tucker.

The deal increases Stoops’ buyout from $1.75 million to $4.5 million if he exits the program before June 30, with a $500,000 drop before June 30 in each Following year.

Athletic director Mitch Barnhart said in a Nov. 18 press release posted on the school’s website that the agreement had been in the works for more than a month, adding that continuity was “more and more important in today’s landscape.”

Stoops said in the press release that he wanted to reaffirm his commitment, adding, “I’ve loved it here and I’m excited for our future.”

The revised contract provides bonuses for reaching the College Football Playoff semifinals ranging from $300,000 to $800,000 for winning the national championship.

The announcement comes at a time when the Wildcats have not lived up to their expectations at the start of the season. Kentucky began the season with a 4-0 start, including a win over then-12th-ranked Florida in the Swamp, resulting in a top-10 finish. Since then, the Wildcats have stumbled, winning just two of their last seven games, with stinging home losses to South Carolina and Vanderbilt.

Stoops (65-58), Kentucky’s longest-serving coach, finished 61st in a win over Florida in September, overtaking Paul “Bear” Bryant as his career leader. The contract extension commended many of Stoops’ other accomplishments, including seven straight bowl games, being the only Kentucky coach to have two 10-win seasons and the longest active winning streak against non-conference opponents in the nation.

Kentucky wraps up the regular season against rival Louisville on Saturday before waiting for their school record seventh straight season.

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