- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 27, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky has found its football coach.

The Wildcats announced Tuesday that they have hired Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops to coach the Wildcats.

Stoops replaces Joker Phillips, who was fired Nov. 4. Phillips went 13-24 in three seasons at Kentucky. The Wildcats were 0-8 in the Southeastern Conference this year.

Stoops, 45, will be introduced at a news conference Sunday. No. 13 Florida State (10-2) plays Georgia Tech Saturday in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.

His hiring concludes a quicker-than-expected search. After Saturday’s season-ending loss at Tennessee, athletic director Mitch Barnhart said he had no timetable to replace Phillips. It didn’t take long.

The decision makes Stoops a head coach for the first time.

“I want to thank [Kentucky] President Eli Capilouto and Mitch Barnhart for this opportunity,” Stoops said in a statement. “I promise the faithful of the Big Blue Nation I will be focused and driven to create a positive, winning atmosphere for the program and an environment that all of Kentucky can be proud of.”

Stoops becomes the third brother in college football’s famed coaching family to lead a program. Older brother Bob Stoops is the coach at Oklahoma, and Mike Stoops is the Sooners’ defensive coordinator.

Before joining Oklahoma this year, Mike was the coach at Arizona.

Mark Stoops has been the Seminoles’ defensive coordinator the past three seasons. Florida State’s defense was ranked 108th when he took over, and he has turned the Seminoles into one of the nation’s top defensive teams.

The Seminoles have the nation’s second-ranked defense, giving up 249.4 yards per game. Kentucky allowed 391 yards a contest this season.

Johnson out at Southern Miss

Southern Mississippi fired football coach Ellis Johnson after one winless season.

Athletic director Jeff Hammond announced in a statement released by the school that Johnson would not return after a 0-12 season that ended with a loss to Memphis on Saturday.

“At Southern Miss, we expect to compete hard and succeed both in the classroom and on the field,” Hammond said. “This is not the exception.This is in fact the standard, the norm, our identity and who we are.”

Story Continues →