LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops has been named to the preseason watch list for the 2022 Dodd Trophy, presented by PNC, it was announced today by the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Peach Bowl, Inc.
This year’s list includes 20 of the nation’s top college football coaches representing all Power Five conferences, as well as the AAC and an independent.
Managed by Peach Bowl, Inc., The Dodd Trophy, college football’s most coveted national coaching award, celebrates the head coach of a team who enjoys success on the gridiron, while also stressing the importance of scholarship, leadership and integrity – the three pillars of legendary coach Bobby Dodd’s coaching philosophy.
The watch list was created through a selection process by the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Peach Bowl, Inc., taking into consideration each program’s graduation rate, commitment to service and charity in the community, projected success for the 2022 season and Academic Progress Rate (APR). Coaches in the first year with their current team are ineligible to receive The Dodd Trophy.
When the Wildcats begin the 2022 season, it will be Stoops' 10th year at UK, longer than any coach in school history. In addition, Stoops has 59 wins in the Blue and White, needing only two more triumphs to surpass the school record of 60 set by Paul “Bear” Bryant.
Stoops led the Wildcats to a 10-3 record in 2021, only the fourth time in school history (twice in the last four years under Stoops) that the Wildcats have reached double-digit victories. UK began the season with a 6-0 start for the first time since 1950, when the legendary Bryant patrolled the sidelines in Lexington. The 2021 campaign featured a 5-3 tally in the Southeastern Conference. UK finished in sole possession of second place in the SEC Eastern Division, the first time the Wildcats were solely in second since the league split into divisions in 1992.
As quickly as the achievements have come recently, Stoops’ success has been far from easy.
Inheriting a program that was 2-10 in 2012, the year before he arrived, Stoops’ rebuilding efforts took time. Two games into the 2016 season his record was 12-26, but the program took off from there and the coach has engineered a 47-27 (63.5%) mark since.
In Stoops’ nine seasons, six Wildcats, including three straight, have been named to the AFCA National Good Works Team (Max Godby, Landon Foster, Courtney Love, Landon Young, Luke Fortner and Kenneth Horsey), while Love won the prestigious Wuerffel Trophy, known as “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service,” in 2017. Stoops also is very active in the community as he has helped raise over $2 million for the Kentucky’s Children’s Hospital by spearheading an event each year called “Coaches for the Kids.”
In the classroom, the Wildcats have earned strong numbers for graduation rates and in the NCAA Academic Progress Rate. Since 2015, the Wildcats have earned eight Academic All-America honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America.
A midseason watch list – adding to or narrowing the field – will be released in the fall. A panel consisting of previous winners, national media, a member of the Dodd family and a College Football Hall of Fame member will identify the final list of potential recipients at the conclusion of the 2022 season. The winner of the 2022 Dodd Trophy will be announced in Atlanta during the week of the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
Starting in September, the Dodd Coach of the Week Award will also honor coaches on a weekly basis whose program embodies the award’s three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity, while also having success on the playing field during the previous week.