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Stoops: Coaching at Arizona was like 'fighting with a toothpick'

2012-03-23T08:00:00Z 2012-03-23T13:10:37Z Stoops: Coaching at Arizona was like 'fighting with a toothpick'By Ryan Finley, Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Mike Stoops felt like he "might have got it as good as it can get" during his seven-plus seasons as the Arizona Wildcats' head coach, he told CBSSports.com's Bryan Fischer this week. 

The reasons: Poor facilities and what he viewed was a university-wide apathy toward football. 

"You have to be realistic with what your expectations are and you should have high expectations, I certainly did. But what you're capable of and what the circumstances that are dealt to you, it's hard to achieve those big goals of winning a championship there," Stoops, now the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma, told Fischer. (Click here for the full story).

But wait, there's more. 

"There's a reason they haven't won a championship at Arizona and it's not bad coaching or bad players," Stoops continued. "You can blame it on anything you want, football and championships are about commitments made university wide. It's a commitment made to winning, not at all costs but there is a cost. 

"When you don't have a football facility and every Mountain West team has one and you don't, that's a problem. We were playing at a BCS level and I feel like I was fighting with a toothpick and they've got a bat."

Stoops went 41-50 during his time at Arizona, a tenure that ended when athletic director Greg Byrne fired him Oct. 10. Interim coach Tim Kish led the team to a 3-3 mark in the second half of the season, and the Wildcats finished  4-8. Rich Rodriguez was hired Nov. 21 with hopes that his spread-option offense, 3-3-5 "odd stack" defense and the promise of a $70 million football plant at Arizona Stadium will turn the Wildcats' fortunes around. Arizona (as if I need to remind you) remains the only original Pac-10 team to never play in the Rose Bowl. 

Stoops' "toothpick comment" — which reads like a lyric to an old soul song —  is bold stuff. And, to be fair, he makes a few valid points the story.

But what do you think? Does Stoops speak the truth, or is he making excuses? Hit the comments section or email me (rfinley@azstarnet.com) and let me know. I'll post some of the best remarks.  

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