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Mark Stoops is longest-tenured active coach in SEC. See how his tenure stacks up in league

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Mark Stoops is longest-tenured active coach in SEC. See how his tenure stacks up in league


LEXINGTON — When legendary Alabama coach Nick Saban retired in January, it had a small — but not direct — connection to Kentucky.

With Saban stepping down, UK’s Mark Stoops moved to the top of a list: longest-tenured active coach at the same SEC school. Stoops wrapped up his 11th season with the Wildcats last fall. He’s the first Kentucky coach to be on the job for more than a decade.

As he gears up for Year 12 in Lexington, where does Stoops rank all time among SEC coaches in seasons, victories and more?

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Here’s where Stoops stacks up in conference history — and how much higher he might rise up those various lists:

Seasons coached (SEC schools only)

per Sports-Reference.com

1. Bear Bryant: 33 seasons (eight at Kentucky from 1946 through 1953; 25 at Alabama from 1958 through 1982; tenure at Texas A&M from 1954 through 1957 not included as Aggies were not yet member of SEC)

T2. Vince Dooley: 25 (Georgia, 1964 through 1988)

T2. Ralph Jordan: 25 (Auburn, 1951 through 1975)

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T2. Johnny Vaught: 25 (Ole Miss, 1947 through 1973; Vaught retired after the 1970 season but returned as Ole MIss’ interim coach for the final eight games in 1973 after firing of Billy Kinard)

5. Steve Spurrier: 23 (12 at Florida from 1990 through 2001; 11 at South Carolina from 2005 through 2015)

T6. Wally Butts: 22 (Georgia, 1939 through 1960)

T6. Nick Saban: 22 (five seasons at LSU from 2000 through 2004; 17 at Alabama from 2007 through 2023)

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8. Bobby Dodd: 19 (Georgia Tech, 1945 through 1963; Georgia Tech left the SEC to become an independent after 1963 season, with Dodd continuing to coach program until retiring following the 1966 campaign)

9. Charlie McClendon: 18 (LSU, 1962 through 1979)

10. Phillip Fulmer: 17 (Tennessee, 1992 through 2008)

11. Johnny Majors: 16 (Tennessee, 1977 through 1992)

T12. Doug Dickey: 15 (six seasons at Tennessee from 1964 through 1969; nine at Florida from 1970 through 1978)

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T12. Mark Richt: 15 (Georgia, 2001 through 2015)

T14. Robert Neyland: 14 (Tennessee, 1933 through 1952; did not coach in 1935 or 1941 through 1945; Neyland also was Tennessee’s coach from 1926 through 1932, prior to the SEC’s first season in 1933)

T14. Houston Nutt: 14 (10 at Arkansas from 1998 through 2007; four at Ole Miss from 2008 through 2011)

T14. Tommy Tuberville: 14 (four at Ole Miss from 1995 through 1998; 10 at Auburn from 1999 through 2008)

T17. Bernie Moore: 13 (LSU, 1935 through 1947)

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T17. Dan Mullen: 13 (nine at Mississippi State from 2009 through 2017; four at Florida from 2018 through 2021)

T17. Jackie Sherrill: 13 (Mississippi State, 1991 through 2003; tenure at Texas A&M from 1982 through 1988 not included as Aggies were not yet member of SEC)

T17. Frank Thomas: 13 (Alabama, 1933 through 1946; Thomas also was Alabama’s coach in 1931 and 1932, prior to the SEC’s first season in 1933; Alabama did not field a team in 1943 because of World War II)

T21. William Alexander: 12 (Georgia Tech, 1933 through 1944; Alexander also was Georgia Tech’s coach from 1920 through 1932, prior to the SEC’s first season in 1933)

T21. Pat Dye: 12 (Auburn, 1981 through 1992)

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T21. Harry Mehre: 12 (Five seasons at Georgia from 1933 through 1937; seven at Ole Miss from 1938 through 1945; Mehre also was Georgia’s coach from 1928 through 1932, prior to the SEC’s first season in 1933; Ole Miss did not field a team in 1943 because of World War II)

T21. Les Miles: 12 (LSU, 2005 through 2016)

T25. Billy Brewer: 11 (Ole Miss, 1983 through 1993)

T25. Mark Stoops: 11 (Kentucky, 2013 through 2023)

How much higher could Stoops climb?

When Stoops takes the sideline for Kentucky’s opener against Southern Miss on Aug. 31, he’ll become the 25th coach in league history with at least a dozen seasons under his belt. Over the years, Stoops has been approached multiple times by other schools gauging his interest to take over their programs. And Stoops, of course, could choose to retire whenever he wants.

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Using the most recent contract he signed with the university as a guide, Stoops will remain in charge of the Wildcats through at least the 2030 campaign. That would be his 18th at UK, making him only the 10th coach in conference history to reach that mark. It also would put him alongside McClendon for the ninth-most seasons as an SEC coach.

If Stoops remains the coach through the end of his current deal, which ends June 30, 2031, he would be just shy of his 64th birthday.

Games coached (only games as coach at an SEC school included)

per Sports-Reference.com

1. Bear Bryant: 375 (287 at Alabama, 88 at Kentucky)

2. Nick Saban: 299 (235 at Alabama, 64 at LSU)

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3. Vince Dooley: 288 (all at Georgia)

4. Steve Spurrier: 285 (150 at Florida, 135 at South Carolina)

5. Ralph “Shug” Jordan: 265 (all at Auburn)

6. Johnny Vaught: 263 (all at Ole Miss)

7. Wally Butts: 235 (all at Georgia)

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8. Bobby Dodd: 205 (all at Georgia Tech)

9. Phillip Fulmer: 204 (all at Tennessee)

10. Charlie McClendon: 203 (all at LSU)

11. Mark Richt: 196 (all at Georgia)

12. Johnny Majors: 186 (all at Tennessee)

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13. Houston Nutt: 173 (123 at Arkansas, 50 at Ole Miss)

14. Tommy Tuberville: 170 (125 at Auburn, 45 at Ole Miss)

15. Doug Dickey: 168 (103 at Florida, 65 at Tennessee)

16. Dan Mullen: 164 (115 at Mississippi State, 49 at Florida)

17. Jackie Sherrill: 152 (all at Mississippi State)

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T18. Robert Neyland: 148 (all at Tennessee)

T18. Les Miles: 148 (all at LSU)

20. Pat Dye: 142 (all at Auburn)

21. Mark Stoops: 138 (all at Kentucky)

How much higher could Stoops climb this season?

Even if Stoops’ (and UK’s) bowl streak ends at eight this fall, the team still will have 12 games in 2024. That’s good enough to move Stoops’ games-coached figure to 150, passing Neyland, Miles and Dye to rise to 18th on this list.

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How much higher could Stoops climb before end of his career?

Without speculating about bowls or other postseason contests, Stoops is guaranteed to coach in 12 games per season. If he’s around through the end of his contract after the 2030 campaign, that’s 84 contests (12 games per season for the next seven seasons). By then, Stoops would have surpassed the 200-game mark — a number only 10 coaches in league history have reached. All told, Stoops would have coached in at least 222 games by that point, which would rank eighth in the SEC’s annals.

Victories in SEC regular-season games (including SEC championship games)

per 2023 SEC football media guide

1. Bear Bryant: 159 (137 at Alabama, 22 at Kentucky)

2. Nick Saban: 156 (126 at Alabama, 30 at LSU; Saban had 129 on-field wins in conference contests at Alabama, but program was forced to vacate five victories — including three in SEC games — from the 2007 season because of NCAA violations)

3. Steve Spurrier: 131 (87 at Florida, 44 at South Carolina)

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4. Johnny Vaught: 106 (all at Ole Miss)

5. Vince Dooley: 105 (all at Georgia)

T6. Ralph “Shug” Jordan: 98 (all at Auburn; Jordan had 97 on-field SEC wins but was awarded 1975 victory over Mississippi State via forfeit because of NCAA violations committed by MSU)

T6. Phillip Fulmer: 98 (all at Tennessee; Fulmer had 97 on-field SEC wins but was awarded another via forfeit after NCAA forced Alabama to vacate eight victories and its tie versus Tennessee in 1993)

8. Mark Richt: 85 (all at Georgia)

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9. Wally Butts: 67 (all at Georgia)

T10. Tommy Tuberville: 64 (52 at Auburn, 12 at Ole Miss)

T10. Les Miles: 64 (all at LSU)

T12. Charlie McClendon: 62 (all at LSU; McClendon had 60 on-field SEC wins at LSU but was awarded victories over Mississippi State, via forfeit, in 1975 and 1976 as a result of NCAA violations committed by MSU)

T12. Robert Neyland: 62 (all at Tennessee)

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14. Frank Thomas: 59 (all at Alabama)

15. Kirby Smart: 58 (all at Georgia)

16. Johnny Majors: 57 (all at Tennessee)

17. Dan Mullen: 54 (33 at Mississippi State, 21 at Florida)

18. Houston Nutt: 52 (42 at Arkansas, 10 at Ole Miss)

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19. Doug Dickey: 49 (28 at Florida, 21 at Tennessee)

20. Pat Dye: 48 (all at Auburn)

21. Jackie Sherrill: 43 (all at Mississippi State; Sherrill had 42 on-field SEC wins at Mississippi State but was awarded another via forfeit after NCAA forced Alabama to vacate eight victories in 1993)

22. Gus Malzahn: 40 (all at Auburn)

23. Urban Meyer: 39 (all at Florida)

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24. Gene Stallings: 38 (all at Alabama)

25. Ray Graves: 36 (all at Florida)

26. Mark Stoops: 35 (all at Kentucky)

How much higher could Stoops climb this season?

Not counting the 2020 campaign, when the SEC played a conference-only slate because of the coronavirus, Kentucky’s hovered around .500 (4-4) in league play each season since its bowl streak began in 2016. During that span, UK has gone 5-3 twice (2018 and 2021), 4-4 on two other occasions (2016 and 2017) and 3-5 three times (2019, 2022 and 2023).

For consistency’s sake, let’s say Stoops’ troops go 4-4 again in 2024. That would up his win total in conference games to 39, tying him with Meyer for 23rd all time.

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How much higher could Stoops climb before end of his career?

If UK keeps at its current pace of four SEC wins per season — what likely will become an increasingly difficult feat with blue bloods Oklahoma and Texas joining the conference this fall, and the near certainty a nine-game conference slate is coming in the not-so-distant future — for the next seven years (through the conclusion of Stoops’ latest contract agreement), that’s 28 victories. That would increase Stoops’ SEC win tally to 63, one ahead of McClendon and Neyland for 12th in league history. And it also would put him just one victory shy of breaking into the top 10, tying Miles and Tuberville at 64.

Victories (overall as coach at an SEC school)

per 2023 SEC football media guide

1. Bear Bryant: 292 (232 at Alabama, 60 at Kentucky)

2. Nick Saban: 249 (201 at Alabama, 48 at LSU; Saban had 206 on-field wins at Alabama, but program was forced to vacate five victories from the 2007 season because of NCAA violations.)

3. Steve Spurrier: 208 (122 at Florida, 86 at South Carolina)

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4. Vince Dooley: 201 (all at Georgia)

5. Dan McGugin: 197 (all at Vanderbilt)

6. Johnny Vaught: 190 (all at Ole Miss)

7. Ralph “Shug” Jordan: 176 (all at Auburn; Jordan had 175 on-field wins but was awarded 1975 victory over Mississippi State via forfeit because of NCAA violations committed by MSU)

8. Robert Neyland: 173 (all at Tennessee)

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9. Phillip Fulmer: 152 (all at Tennessee; Fulmer had 151 on-field SEC wins but was awarded another via forfeit after NCAA forced Alabama to vacate eight victories and its tie versus Tennessee in 1993)

10. Mark Richt: 145 (all at Georgia)

11. Wally Butts: 140 (all at Georgia)

12. Charlie McClendon: 137 (all at LSU; McClendon had 135 on-field wins at LSU but was awarded victories over Mississippi State, via forfeit, in 1975 and 1976 as a result of NCAA violations committed by MSU)

13. Mike Donahue: 122 (99 at Auburn, 23 at LSU)

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T14. Johnny Majors: 115 (all at Tennessee)

T14. Frank Thomas: 115 (all at Alabama)

16. Les Miles: 114 (all at LSU)

17. Tommy Tuberville: 110 (85 at Auburn, 25 at Ole Miss)

18. Doug Dickey: 104 (58 at Florida, 46 at Tennessee)

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19. Dan Mullen: 103 (69 at Mississippi State, 34 at Florida)

T20. Pat Dye: 99 (all at Auburn)

T20. Houston Nutt: 99 (75 at Arkansas, 24 at Ole Miss)

22. Harry Mehre: 98 (59 at Georgia, 39 at Ole Miss)

23. Kirby Smart: 94 (all at Georgia)

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24. Bernie Moore: 83 (all at LSU)

25. Jackie Sherrill: 75 (all at Mississippi State; actual on-field record at MSU was 74-76-1 but was awarded 1993 victory over Alabama via forfeit after NCAA violations committed by Crimson Tide)

26. Mark Stoops: 73 (all at Kentucky)

How much higher could Stoops climb this season?

Stoops is a lock to pass Sherrill this season, given that UK needs only three wins to lift him past the former Mississippi State coach. But to catch Moore this season would require 10 victories. Given that Kentucky only has reached that mark four times in program history, it’s a better bet Stoops will usurp Moore some time in 2025.

How much higher could Stoops climb before end of his career?

Stoops is averaging 6.6 wins per season for his 11-year tenure. But throw out the first three seasons (2013-15) — when he still was rebuilding the program — and focus on the last eight. In that time, the Wildcats have won 61 games, an average of 7.6 victories per season. For sure, the program is in a better place than when he arrived. But the SEC is about to get even more taxing with Oklahoma and Texas joining the fray.

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For this exercise, let’s forecast a low-win mark of six, a high-water mark of 10 and alternating seven- and eight-win seasons for the remainder of Stoops’ current contract. That adds an additional 53 wins to his total, which not only puts him over the century mark — his 126 victories at that point would leave Stoops just outside the top 12 all time in the nation’s fiercest conference.

Not bad for a kid from Youngstown, Ohio.

“Growing up in Youngstown has much to do with the identity of myself and anybody that comes from there,” Stoops said in September 2022, just after breaking Bryant’s school record for victories. “It’s a very unique place, great pride coming from that area, and a toughness. It’s the Rust Belt, blue-collar, steel-mill town.”

Reach Kentucky men’s basketball and football reporter Ryan Black at rblack@gannett.com and follow him on X at @RyanABlack.



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Kentucky

Jim Caldwell's Forecast | Steam keeps Heat Index high across Kentucky

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Jim Caldwell's Forecast | Steam keeps Heat Index high across Kentucky


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – Another sticky day for folks across Kentucky.

A familiar summer pattern will continue to affect Kentucky, bringing heat and humidity to the region. While the temperatures themselves are not extraordinary, the humidity will make it feel significantly hotter.

Temperature Outlook

  • Highs will hover around 90°, slightly above the normal mid-80s (29°C) for this time of year.
  • The heat index, which takes into account the humidity, will make it feel like 95-100°.

Precipitation and Storms

  • Scattered showers and storms may develop, particularly during the first part of the weekend.
  • These storms can produce quick, heavy rain and gusty winds similar to those experienced yesterday.

Relief in Sight

  • A cold front is expected to move through early next week, bringing a return to normal temperatures and humidity levels.
  • However, another surge of heat is likely to follow, continuing the typical summer pattern.

Stay Cool and Hydrated!

Remember to take necessary precautions to stay safe in the heat: stay hydrated, seek shade or air conditioning when needed, and check on vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and young children.

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Mark Pope shares his approach to continuing Kentucky's success in the NBA Draft

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Mark Pope shares his approach to continuing Kentucky's success in the NBA Draft


49 Kentucky players were drafted into the NBA during the John Calipari era. Despite having a couple of guards in Reed Sheppard and Rob Dillingham expected to hear their names called early later this summer — has the Wildcats’ NBA Draft tradition left with Calipari to Arkansas?

According to new head coach Mark Pope, he doesn’t think so.

“It’s been a mainstay of Kentucky basketball since the beginning of time,” Pope told local reporters. “I mean, my senior season (1996) we won a national championship and we had nine guys for that team going into play at least seven years in the NBA. Nine — that’s 75 percent if my math is right, so this brilliant relationship between Kentucky basketball and the NBA is something that’s been long-standing and I think it’s vital and important.”

Calipari had a first-round draft choice in every year that he was head coach in Lexington. Before that, Kentucky produced just six draft choices from 2000-2009. That group included legends of the program in Jodie Meeks, Rajon Rondo and Tayshaun Prince, but pales in comparison to what came after.

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However, the NBA was very kind to UK in the 80s and 90s, seeing 29 Wildcats — including Pope in 1996 — hear their name called in the draft over those two decades.

“For us, it’s a manifestation of the success that we have here,” Pope continued, alluding to the eight national titles UK has won under five different head coaches across all eras of college basketball. “When you see teams win, and win at the highest level — it’s because they have good players and those players become great. Players that become great have a chance to play.

“Our relationship with the NBA — if we do well and our guys do well — it will continue in massive earnest, clearly like it did with Cal. Like it did with Tubby [Smith], with coach [Rick Pitino, Joe B. [Hall]. Hopefully we will continue down that road because it’s a really important part of what we do.”

It will be tough to surpass the 50+ former Kentucky players that Calipari will ultimately have drafted by the beginning of next season.

Mark Pope will look to keep the tradition going as Kentucky moves forward with its new head coach. As for year one, he has put together a team full of college veterans. Whether their game will carry over to the NBA isn’t as easy to predict as one of Calipari’s five-star recruits, but Pope’s squad will likely still get looks from NBA scouts simply from the name on the front of the jersey alone.

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Federal crackdown on silica dust begins as mining experts highlight impact to Kentucky workers

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Federal crackdown on silica dust begins as mining experts highlight impact to Kentucky workers


After a years-long rule-making process at the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), coal mines will have to keep workers safe from toxic silica dust by lowering the legal exposure limit from 100 micrograms to 50 micrograms over an 8-hour work shift.

Experts have long-known that silica dust is causing a surge in the incurable black lung disease among central Appalachian coal miners. It’s caused as miners inhale bits of the rock that’s being pulverized to get to harder-to-reach coal seams.

“You want to know what it’s like to have black lung?” John Robinson, a former miner battling the disease asked at a roundtable discussion in Louisville on Monday. “Grab your pillow off your bed, go outside, and get your push mower going in your yard.”

Other industries who extract things like metal, sand and gravel will also need to comply with the silica standards. For the first time ever, they’ll also be required to X-ray workers’ lungs. Those X-rays will be stored in a database managed by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

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Those industries have said they don’t see the same epidemic coal has with black lung, but regulators hypothesize that’s because they don’t look.

“My guess is, that when we go looking for a problem, when we go looking at these miners and their chest films, we’re probably going to see silica in those lungs,” NIOSH researcher Scott Laney said.

U.S. Representative Morgan McGarvey hosted Monday’s roundtable in Louisville with federal experts discussing the impact of the rule. There are no active coal mines in his district, but he is the only Democrat in Kentucky’s congressional delegation.

Officials have lauded the Biden administration for the measure, which was promised but undelivered in multiple previous administrations.

“I’ve always considered myself, yes, representing my district, but also being a representative of our state,” McGarvey said. “When you talk about the safety of our workers, to me, that’s never been a political issue.”

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McGarvey’s office said the lawmaker wanted to learn from federal experts about what is needed “to ensure effective implementation and enforcement of this rule.”

One thing that might make it difficult to implement and enforce? A flat budget at the federal mine agency. Congress recently denied a $50 million budget increase for more mine inspections and more silica dust sampling.

“We just need to help get MSHA more money to help enforce this,” National Black Lung Association Vice President Vonda Robinson said. “They need more guys to go out and help, to be able to enforce this.”

MSHA Assistant Secretary Chris Williamson speaks at a press conference on Monday in Louisville.

“MSHA has had flat budgets for, I don’t know how many years now,” MSHA Assistant Secretary Chris Williamson said at a panel earlier in June. “You’re talking about people because in almost every federal agency, the cost driver is personnel. We will do the best we can with what we’re given to work with, but it will remain a priority.”

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Appalachian advocacy groups have criticized the measure for largely relying on companies to accurately self-report high silica dust samples. They say it gives companies “every incentive to continue cheating and hiding dangers” and compared it to letting a “fox guard the hen house.”

Williamson has repeatedly promised that any companies caught cheating on the silica testing and reporting requirements will be dealt with severely.

Meanwhile, the silica rule is facing two separate legal challenges from mining industry associations. They’re asking federal judges to analyze the rule for its legality.

“Worker safety and health is a core value of our association, but unfortunately, this rule has missed the mark,” National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association CEO & President Michael Johnson said in a written statement. “MSHA’s crystalline silica rule includes provisions that were not included in the proposed rule, for which we were not provided the opportunity to comment, as required by law.”

Although companies are expected to begin lower silica dust levels now, enforcement will begin in April 2025 for coal companies and 2026 for non-coal.

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State government and politics reporting is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.





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