Posted by Adam Jacobi
CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman reported that Arizona head coach Mike Stoops would be fired on Monday evening. Shortly thereafter, Arizona AD Greg Byrne confirmed the news, ending Stoops' tenure atop the Wildcats program effective immediately. Defensive coordinator Tim Kish, who has served in such a duty since Stoops came to Arizona, was named the interim head coach.
Stoops finishes his Arizona tenure with a 41-50 record. Arizona is coming off three straight bowl games, but the 2010 season ended with five straight losses, meaning that the Wildcats have won just one of their last 11 games: a 41-10 victory over FCS Northern Arizona to start the 2011 season.
To be fair to Stoops, a majority of Arizona's losses in that stretch came against ranked opponents -- the Wildcats have already played three Top 10 opponents this year -- but a 37-27 loss to previously winless Oregon State on Saturday appears to have sealed Stoops' fate.
Mike Stoops' contract was extended through 2013 in 2008, after he guided the Wildcats to their first bowl game since 1999. The Wildcats beat BYU 31-21 in the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl, but haven't won a bowl game since.
"We're appreciative of Mike's dedicated work for the Arizona Wildcats," Byrne said. "Coach Stoops had many successes as our head coach over the last eight seasons. It was a difficult decision but I feel now is the time for new leadership and direction."
In Arizona's statement, Kish said, "Today is tough day [sic] for the program. It's an important moment, for sure. I appreciate Greg's faith in me to provide leadership to our young men during this difficult time. I've been with Coach Stoops for each of his eight years here and know that we have a strong foundation for not only the future but for our immediate tasks. I know this coaching staff will work hard and support our players as we compete for the remainder of the season. We're here to help these players succeed."
Arizona said in the announcement that it was beginning it search for a new head coach immediately, and that it expects to hire a new coach after the 2011 season is over.
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