VINDICATOR STAFF REPORT
YOUNGSTOWN — The top candidate for the vacant Youngstown State head football coaching position is no longer in the running.
Mark Stoops, defensive coordinator at the University of Arizona and a Youngstown native, Friday accepted the position as defensive coordinator at Florida State University under new head coach Jimbo Fisher, who will take over the Seminoles next season replacing the veteran Bobby Bowden, who is retiring.
Stoops has been the top candidate that YSU athletic director Ron Strollo has been after since Jon Heacock announced his resignation at the end of this season.
Reports that Stoops had been offered the YSU job at least two weeks ago have never been confirmed by Strollo or Youngstown State.
The other name which has been mentioned as Heacock’s replacement has been Eric Wolford, the running game coordinator at the University of South Carolina and also a Youngstown native, who played at Ursuline High.
Stoops, a graduate of Cardinal Mooney High and the University of Iowa, has spent the last six seasons with the Wildcats, whose head coach is his brother, Mike.
Stoops has been the defensive coordinator all six seasons with the Wildcats and this past season helped the team to a big win over Southern Cal in the season finale and earned a trip to the Holiday Bowl.
Stoops also coached at the University of Miami, Fla., for three seasons as the defensive backfield coach. He began his coaching career in 1990 as a graduate assistant at his alma mater for two years and then spent four seasons in the high school ranks. He also coached at South Florida, Wyoming and Houston before joining the Hurricanes in 2001.
His brother Bob is the successful head coach at the University of Oklahoma and he also has a brother, Ron, who is still in Youngstown and is the defensive coordinator at Cardinal Mooney High.
Florida State selected Stoops over South Carolina assistant head coach Ellis Johnson, Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster and Alabama assistant Sal Sunseri.