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Arizona: Stoops out, Kish interim

Arizona has decided to make a change. Mike Stoops, head coach since November 2004, has been relieved of his responsibilities and defensive coordinator Tim Kish has been named interim head coach.

Stoops will be paid a $1.4 million payout. In eight seasons, Stoops went 41-50, 27-38 in the Pac-12. 7-6 in 2010, 8-5 in both 2009 and 2008.

This season the Wildcats were 1-5 and 0-4 in conference. They have lost ten consecutive games against FBS opponents. Arizona is currently 117th in scoring defense and has shown virtually no pass rush.

Athletic director Greg Byrne said he decided to make the change now because, "We want them to have some fun playing football. We wanted our coaches to have fun coaching." Byrne added that he and a few others within his staff will "take care of the search." He added, "After today, I won't speak any more about our search until we have our coach."

Kish is a member of Stoops original staff and was made co-defensive coordinator two seasons ago and then was promoted to defensive coordinator after last season. He spent most of the decade before he came to Arizona in the Big Ten with stints at Indiana, Illinois and Northwestern. Prior to that he spent a good amount of time at Army and a few seasons at Ball State and Purdue. 

Don't expect this search to get deep into December; and depending on the route they go could be filled well before that. 

10:30pm Update> If you want to watch the presser that AD Greg Byrne held this evening about this you can do so at this link. Byrne did state at the presser that none of the assistants have multi-year contracts...all are under contract through June 2012. 

10:45pm Update> Mike Stoops has just released the following statement:

I am very proud of the Wildcat football program and the many accomplishments we have enjoyed. Topping that list is our qualifying for consecutive bowl games the past three seasons for only the second time in school history.

I am also proud of the success our players demonstrated off the field. Not only has our team Academic Progress Rate (APR) improved significantly each of the past five years, but also our players have made great strides in conducting themselves in a manner that reflects the ideals of this University.

When I took this job, I was hoping to be the first coach to lead this program to a Rose Bowl. Although we fell short of that goal, we made significant progress, and our organization continues to strive for excellence.

I wish the entire Wildcat football program the best of luck going forward, and I thank the University of Arizona for the opportunity to be a part of the successes we have achieved over the past eight seasons.