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Mike Stoops fired: Greg Byrne makes first defining move at Arizona

Head coach Mike Stoops has been relieved of his duties as Arizona Wildcats head football coach Monday night, Byrne said at the presser. Defensive coordinator Tim Kish will take over for the remainder of the season as interim coach.

"The last 11 games have been a road rough," Arizona AD Greg Byrne said. "We've had injuries. There's no doubt about those things. We've very much tried to support coach Stoops. I saw there were many positives that he's done but it got to the point this season where I was concerned about the long-term ... of where this program was going."

Byrne said that the decision to part ways came in the past week, following the Wildcats' dismal 37-27 loss to Oregon State to begin the season 1-5. Most everyone knows what was going down tonight, when Byrne called for a 6 p.m. presser just an hour prior, and it's a faster and bolder move than I would have expected.

The timeline for hiring a new coach will expected to reach a few weeks following the end of the football season.

"I'm not as concerned about time frames," Byrne said. "This gives us an opportunity to do a lot of legwork, a lot of research."

Greg Byrne released his weekly Wildcat Wednesday newsletter on Monday with the following message:

Today I write to you to announce that Mike Stoops has been relieved of his duties and will no longer be the head coach of the Arizona football program. Coach Stoops did many things to improve our program and we are appreciative of his efforts.

This decision is the result of an ongoing evaluation of our program since my arrival a year and a half ago. While Coach Stoops did an admirable job and was able to re-establish Arizona as a football contender, it is a critical time for our football program, and I feel we need a change in leadership. Defensive coordinator Tim Kish will serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of this season.

I recently met with the team  to notify the players of my decision. I  also have spoken with the football staff. Our immediate focus is the team. The support service areas that take care of our team – such as academics and medical services – will continue to provide our student-athletes with first-rate support.

We have nearly two dozen seniors on our football team and we want them to finish their Arizona career by playing in a bowl game. We need you to continue to show the seniors and the entire team your support. I look forward to seeing you next Thursday against UCLA.


Stoops' buyout is worth about $1.4 million, Byrne said.