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Arizona Fires Head Coach Mike Stoops

After an abysmal 1-5 start to the 2011 season, coach Mike Stoops has been fired by Arizona.

The dismissal comes two days after the Wildcats lost to previously winless Oregon State, 37-27.

“Coach Stoops had many successes as our head coach over the last eight seasons,” Arizona AD Greg Byrne said in a statement on Monday. “It was a difficult decision but I feel now is the time for new leadership and direction.”

Stoops was just 41-50 in eight seasons at Arizona but his record is deceiving. The program was a disaster when he arrived in Tucson and Stoops lead Arizona to back-to-back eight-win seasons in 2008 and ‘09, and on the verge of a Rose Bowl appearance in the latter.

But with a potent offense starring QB Nick Foles and WR Juron Criner, a loss to a previously winless team proved to be in the last straw for Stoops.

Three names that are already in circulation as Stoops’ replacement are former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, who ran the same “Air Raid” offense now featured by the Wildcats, Houston’s Kevin Sumlin, who runs the same offense and has the 6-0 Cougars ranked No. 25, and ex-Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, who worked with Byrne at Oregon from 1995-98 and spoke with Colorado last fall about their head coaching vacancy at the time.

[Arizona Wildcats]

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