Mike Stoops Fired By Arizona Wildcats

Arizona will reportedly fire head coach Mike Stoops after the Wildcats started the 2011 season with a 1-5 record.

Mike Stoops is out as Arizona football coach. Wildcats athletic director Gregory Byrne made the announcement official at a press conference Monday night. Defensive coordinator Tim Kish will step in as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

"Today is tough day for the program. It's an important moment, for sure," Kish said. "I appreciate Greg's faith in me to provide leadership to our young men during this difficult time.

"I've been with Coach Stoops for each of his eight years here and know that we have a strong foundation for not only the future but for our immediate tasks."

The Wildcats have lost five straight games since beating Northern Arizona to start the 2011 season, apparently sealing Stoops' fate.

As recently as last season, Stoops appeared to be leading the Wildcats in the right direction. At the end of October 2010 Arizona was 7-1 and ranked in the AP Top 25. But Arizona lost the final five games of the season, including a 36-10 blowout loss to Oklahoma State in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Arizona has lost 10 of its last 11 games over the previous two seasons.

Despite the Wildcats' struggles, the news is somewhat surprising on a national level given the rare nature of mid-season firings. But SB Nation Arizona notes that for those who follow Wildcats football, the writing was on the wall.

Stoops has spent eight seasons as the head of the Wildcats football program since taking the job in 2003. He inherited a team that went 2-10 the season before he arrived. Arizona has gone to a bowl game each of the past three seasons.

For more on the Arizona Wildcats, head over to the blog Arizona Desert Storm and SB Nation Arizona. For comprehensive coverage around the NCAA, check out SB Nation's College Football hub.

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