Greg Byrne, the University of Arizona's athletic director, has met with the media and addressed the firing of Mike Stoops. Here are a few of the highlights and quotes from the press conference, which was held without Stoops at the McKale Center:
- The decision was made during the past week and the final decision was made Sunday. It was a very tough decision, though Byrne called it "absolutely necessary."
- Mike Stoops will receive a contract buyout of $1.4 million dollars. He had two years remaining on his contract.
- "Coach Stoops did a lot of great things for this program. He took over a very challenging situation and made us better. And I think as an Arizona football fan and a fan of our university's athletics program, we certainly want to thank him (and his staff's) efforts and appreciate everything he has done for us."
- On why the decision was made in October and not after the season: "We feel like we needed a fresh start this season. We wanted (the players) to have fun playing football." Byrne also suggested it gave UA a leg-up on their search for a new head coach.
- Arizona will employ "three or four" people to find their head coach. No agency or firm will be used. He also urged fans to only believe what he and the university announced and not what various media members released to the fans.
- Byrne confirmed co-defensive coordinator Tim Kish will serve as the interim head coach. He cited his familiarity and loyalty to the program as the reason for the selection.
- The new head coach will ideally be hired a 'few weeks' after the season concludes.
- Byrne vowed to make the absolute best hire possible for the program. He wants a candidate familiar with university, the region of the country, and one who has strong recruiting ties. He did not rule out making a final decision on new head coach during the season should a special situation arise.
This is a big day for the University of Arizona and the football program. Mike Stoops did a solid job rebuilding UA football, but it was time for him to go. A change in leadership was needed and Greg Byrne knew it.
SB Nation Arizona will have continued coverage of the impending coaching search. AZ Desert Swarm is also a great site to checkout for UA news.