And now we move onto the guys who have outperformed their predecessors. Mark Stoops’s sixth season with the Kentucky Wildcats outdid anything Joker Phillips, Rich Brooks, Guy Morris, Hal Mumme, Bill Curry or even Jerry Claiborne did.
UK only had three losses and finished in the top 25 for the first time since Claiborne, finishing in the top 12. However, they also had 10 wins for the first time since Fran Curci did it in 1977. So by reaching those heights, Stoops is the first coach who we can safely say is very good on this list.
That the 10-win season was also a third straight bowl game for the Wildcats only makes his accomplishment more impressive. However, his program still managed to lose to Tennessee football in what was actually a blowout loss.
To be fair, he did beat the Vols the year before, joining Phillips as the only two UK coaches to do so within the last 30 years. But with Jeremy Pruitt at the helm, you wonder if Stoops will ever have the offense to beat UT despite how highly we think of him. He has a major test this year, having to replace all of his talent. His team does host the Vols, though, so he can be dangerous for Pruitt.