Mark Stoops’ name has been linked to openings at both Auburn and Nebraska. But Kentucky football has recently moved to sweeten Stoops’ contract and ensure he remains coach of the Wildcats.

Stoops signed a contract extension Nov. 11, which will make him one of the highest-earning coaches in the country.

The deal, although not publicly announced, had been in the works for more than a month, according to UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart.

“Continuity has become increasingly important in today’s landscape, and make no mistake, the work done by Coach Stoops is well known and highly valued in the world of college football,” said Barnhart in the release. “This extension also recognizes what Coach Stoops has done over the past decade, with achievements unparalleled in Kentucky football history, and reinforces its commitment to the UK as we strive to continue our success. in the future.”

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Stoops looks forward to continuing to work to elevate the program to greater heights.

“I am very grateful to (the UK President) Dr Capilouto and Mitch Barnhart for the relationship we have and the ongoing commitment they have shown to the program,” Stoops said in the statement. “The continuity we’ve had has been crucial to our growth and is even more important as we move forward with the changes in college football. As Mitch said, we’ve been working on this for a while because I wanted to reaffirm my commitment. I loved this place and I’m excited about our future.”

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Here’s what you need to know about Stoops’ reworked deal.

Has Mark Stoops signed a contract extension with Kentucky?

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops leads his team onto the field before the start of an NCAA college football game against Missouri, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Columbia, Mo. Kentucky won 21- 17.  (AP Photo/LG Patterson)

Yes. Mark Stoops is expected to stay at Lexington for the foreseeable future after agreeing to a contract extension last week.

How long is Mark Stoops’ contract extension with Kentucky?

Stoops, in his 10th season as Kentucky football coach, signed a deal a day before the team’s 24-21 home loss to Vanderbilt. Although the university posted a statement online, it never publicly announced news of the contract, which will pay Stoops $9 million a year starting in February 2023. The extension runs until the 2030 season.

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What is Mark Stoops’ salary with Kentucky right now?

November 19, 2022;  Lexington, Kentucky, USA;  Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops looks on during the first quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs at Kroger Field.  Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Stoops earns $6.76 million this season. His contract included a one-time incentive for each year the Wildcats won at least seven games: this automatically triggered a one-year extension. If his teams won 10 games, a two-year extension was triggered. This trigger is removed in his new contract.

How much will Mark Stoops’ salary with Kentucky be under overtime?

The extension will earn him $9 million a year starting in February.

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Has Stoops’ takeover language changed with this deal?

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops greets fans during the Cat Walk on Saturday afternoon before the team faces South Carolina.  October 8, 2022

Yes, significantly.

Under his previous deal, Stoops would have owed the college $1.75 million if he left school at any time with five or more years remaining on the contract. With the new deal, Stoops will have to pay $4.5 million if he leaves before June 30, 2023. After that date, the buyout decreases, $500,000 per year, until June 2030.

What bonuses will Kentucky’s Mark Stoops get in expansion?

There are only two performance-based incentives in the new agreement.

Stoops will receive $100,000 each time the Wildcats appear in a Non-New Year’s Bowl Six. If the UK wins eight games in a season, that bonus increases by $50,000.

Stoops will earn $300,000 if Kentucky plays in an ongoing New Year’s Bowl, or any bowl added to an expanded college football structure in future years. If the Wildcats reach the playoff semifinals, the bonus increases to $500,000. An appearance in a national championship game nets Stoops $650,000.

If the UK wins a national title, Stoops would receive an $800,000 bonus.

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September 10, 2022;  Gainesville, Florida, USA;  Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier and Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops salute before the game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

How does Mark Stoops’ extension compare to others in SEC, college football?

Stoops’ $9 million salary would rank sixth among Division I coaches at public institutions, according to USA Today’s college football coaching salary database. (Private universities, such as Notre Dame and Southern Cal, do not disclose their contracts with Marcus Freeman and Lincoln Riley, respectively.) The only college football coaches known to have salaries higher than Stoops’ new contract are Nick Saban (Alabama), Dabo Swinney (Clemson), Kirby Smart (Georgia), Brian Kelly (LSU) and Mel Tucker (Michigan State). Jimbo Fisher of Texas A&M also earns $9 million per season.

There are also coaches who have accepted new contracts which are not yet reflected in the database; Ohio State coach Ryan Day recently signed a deal that will earn him $9.5 million a year.

The contract extension means Stoops – for now – is Kentucky’s highest-paid coach. Men’s basketball coach John Calipari earns $8.5 million per year until the 2024-25 season, and that figure is expected to reach $9 million per year in July 2025.

How long has Mark Stoops been in Kentucky?

Stoops is in his 10th season at Kentucky, taking over before the 2013 campaign. His 10 seasons as coach are a program record. If he coaches until the end of his current contract, he will coach the United Kingdom for 18 years.

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What is Mark Stoops’ coaching record at Kentucky?

Sep 24, 2022;  Lexington, Kentucky, USA;  Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops enters the field during a second quarter timeout against the Northern Illinois Huskies at Kroger Field.  Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off Saturday’s 16-6 loss to top-ranked Georgia, Stoops is 65-58 with the Wildcats. He became the UK’s winningest manager earlier this season, overtaking legendary Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant.

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In addition to the all-time winning mark, Stoops also ranks first in school history in home wins (45) and SEC game wins (32). He led the Wildcats to a pair of 10-win seasons over the past five years as well as seven straight bowl berths. The Wildcats have won four straight bowl games.

Kentucky has won 19 straight games against non-conference opponents, the longest active streak on the FBS.

What does Mark Stoops’ extension mean for Kentucky football?

The contract extension sends several messages to potential recruits as well as coaches nationwide: Kentucky is more determined than ever to find real, lasting success on the gridiron.

That he wins more than Calipari, for the moment, is a sign. Whether the only coaches who will earn more than Stoops are those with national championship rings (Saban, Swinney, Smart and Fisher) or schools with more football pedigree (Day at Ohio State, Kelly at LSU and Tucker at Michigan State ) is another.

It also tells recruits, whether in high school, college or on the transfer portal, that Stoops will be staying in Lexington for the long haul. As each program attempts to navigate the new world of college athletics – with the transfer portal and the name, image and likeness forever changing sports as we know them – the stability of coaches will be more important than ever.

The Wildcats now have that.

Contact Kentucky men’s basketball and soccer reporter Ryan Black at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @RyanABlack