Hello UK football fans, first I want to congratulate you on landing Mark Stoops as your new head coach. I myself am from Youngstown like Stoops, and attended the same HS as he and all of his brothers (as well as Nebraska coach Bo Pelini). I know many members of the Stoops family though have never met Mark or his family, but rest assured that if he is anything like the rest of his family, you have certainly hired a hell of a man. For those who didn't see it when it aired on College Gameday last season, here is the story of the Stoops legacy, and their father Ron Stoops Sr., who is somewhat of a local legend at Cardinal Mooney High School:
Cardinal Mooney is a powerhouse in Ohio HS Football, having won 8 state championships in 4 different decades. This is the winning environment that the Stoops brothers grew up in. Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like that's why they are so successful. They don't know how to lose, they expect greatness from both their team and themselves. They don't know any other way. From what I understand, that attitude is what Mark went into his UK interview with.
Youngstown is a city that lives and breathes HS football, and we love our favorite sons. Not just the current residents, but everyone who grew up in Youngstown. We have pride in our hometown despite the fact that it has certainly seen better days. Youngstown connections run deep in this country, and from coast to coast. Former Youngstown State and Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel called it "the State of Youngstown" because the connections were far larger than the city limits and loyalties and pride were first for Youngstown before anywhere else.
And so we have pride in our favorite sons. The Stoops brothers, the Pelini brothers, even the President of the San Francisco 49ers Jed York. We show support to them wherever they are, and they always return and give back to Youngstown in general and Cardinal Mooney in particular. In the above video, if you look closely at the opening shot of Mooney's practice field, you can still see the faded remains of a logo in the endzone reading "SAINTS". It's the turf from the Superdome in New Orleans from Katrina which was purchased and donated by one of our famous alumni (I think the word is, it was Bob Stoops).
My point is, the State of Youngstown is now a part of Big Blue Nation, and you will certainly have a lot more fans in a small corner of Northeast Ohio and across the country cheering on the Wildcats on Saturdays every fall.
I have little doubt in my mind that Mark will take the Wildcats to new heights. I currently live in Cincinnati, so I understand the Big Blue Nation. I understand that football is ignored by many fans in favor of your excellent basketball program. I don't think this will be a program to be ignored much longer.
Congrats again on landing Coach Stoops, and go Wildcats! (Maybe I'll see some of you down at Commonwealth Stadium next fall!)