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What you're saying about Mike Stoops' 'toothpick' comment

2012-03-23T13:41:00Z What you're saying about Mike Stoops' 'toothpick' commentBy Ryan Finley, Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Mike Stoops' continues to move the needle, five months after he was fired as the Arizona Wildcats' football coach. Many of you weighed in on Stoops' comments, made to a CBSSports.com blogger this week, that coaching at Arizona was like "fighting with a toothpick."  Here's a sampling: 

I think the comments Mike Stoops made were right on. The facilities are horrible: in fact Kirk Herbstreit from ESPN said that the worst thing Arizona could do for potential recruits was let them visit campus. I did my undergrad in the Big 12, and there is definitely a different attitude about football in that conference. The University needs to make a financial commitment in order to compete. Wildcats can say it all they want, but Mike's big-shot big brother couldn't even have won games at Arizona. It isn't Mike Stoops fault that the Wildcats can't play football in the BCS. — Effie Craven

As a painter, I take offense to Mr. Stoops' comment. I use a toothpick create art. Go Cats! I used a toothpick to paint our flag. — J H Robles

Stoops does have a point. Our stadium is old and butt ugly. Every other school in the PAC 12 has state of the art facilities and are continuing to upgrade. I hope the new end zone construction will change that, but when recruits compare our stuff to other schools, you don't blame them for wanting to go somewhere else. — Dan S. (from comments)

It's hard to be too upset with the comments, since they are pretty accurate. You can even see it on these boards, any time an upgrade is proposed, people come out of the woodwork to bash the costs. D1 football is a business, and its a business that requires you to keep up with the Joneses. The days of being able to win with just moxie and good intentions are looong gone. Invest in the program, and reap the benefits down the road. — Kevin P. (from comments)

He is entitled to an opinion. He has been in college football for many years. The truth is probably a little in the middle: some his fault, some the University's. Don't belittle a man of an opinion especially when he was there, working in the athletic department. You do not have to agree or like him. — Bob B. (from comments)

Stoops is partially correct, but partially sounds like he's trying to defend his failures with excuses.

He wasn't as bad as just about everyone said, and I thought his sideline antics were awesome, but he did make several huge mistakes in some big games that helped keep us out of the rose bowl. Offensively, you could always tell things were to be kept conservative by Stoops, and that made us easier to defend. Opening it up just a bit and stretching the field vertically may have made things a lot different. Stoops never even tried, or if he did, it was one play, it worked, and he never went back to it. — Robert G (from comments)

The most glaring issue with Stoops making these comments is that he knew the facilities when he accepted the position. (Making an assumption here, but if he didn't check out the place before signing up then he has no one to blame.) As the leader of the program he needed to get the program to a level to justify (afford) improvements. That is part of the job of a head coach. I also would bet that a lot of this stems from comparing UA to Oklahoma too--that has to be somewhat skewed. Valid point about administration support for football, check out the history while Richard Harvill was president of the school--that set us back at least a decade. Plus for the most part Livengood did not invest squat in football facilities during his tenure. BUT clearly that is changing and the changes being made now were started during Stoops time here so he was aware of what was planned. To bag on them now in the middle of the upgrade seems pretty low class. Hopefully Rodriguez gets us to the Rose Bowl quickly so Stoops can stew on that..... — Warren M. (from comments)

So, in Stoops' world, the only way to be a good coach is to inherit a top 25 program that is already rolling. Am I getting that right? Most universities are hiring a new coach because the program has fallen behind the competition on the field. This happens with most new hires, especially assistants looking for their first HC job. Part of the expectation is to rebuild the program. Stoops had all of the information at hand when he made his decision. He knew UA's history, UA's amenities, and the university's strengths and weaknesses. Presumably he measured this against other coaching opportunities at the time. He chose to come here and help rebuild the program. Initially, he appeared to get over the hump, but when it came time to go from average to good, he failed, and he failed miserably. He knew the situation and he had plenty of time and opportunity to remedy it. And, as others have pointed out, he was very well compensated for his mediocre-to-poor performance. Sorry Coach, but this is on you. In the end no one should be surprised by his comments here. It just shows that he handles himself off the field in the same manner that he does on the field, which is to say, classless. — Bradford S. (from comments)

I have always thought of Stoops as a classy guy. While I was at U of A, I actually met him. For a student I thought it was nice that he took the time to shook my hand and chat for a minute. There is some truth to these comments facilities have an impact on recruiting and player development. However once the the ball kicks off, the game isn't about the facility. The team with the superior talent, game plan, and execution is going to win. Having top of the line facilities helps but it isn't everything. And in order to build top of the line facilities, your going to have to have some success first. — Alex S. (from comments) 

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