The first Pacific 12 Conference coach fired this year won't be UCLA's Rick Neuheisel. Instead, it was the coach of UCLA's next opponent.
In a somewhat surprising move, given that the season is only half over, Arizona announced Monday it had fired Mike Stoops six games into his eighth season. The school announced that defensive coordinator Tim Kish would be the interim coach for the rest of the season.
Arizona has been reeling of late, losing 10 straight games to Division 1opponents dating back to last season. The Wildcats fell to 1-5 this year after losing last weekend at previously winless Oregon State. Arizona's only win this season came against 1-AA Northern Arizona.
"We're appreciative of Mike's dedicated work for the Arizona Wildcats," Athletic Director Greg Byrne said in a statement. "Coach Stoops had many successes as our head coach over the last eight seasons. It was a difficult decision but I feel now is the time for new leadership and direction."
Stoops leaves with a 41-50 overall record and was 27-38 in conference games. Arizona stuck with Stoops through four straight non-winning seasons before he broke through with an 8-5 season in 2008. He followed with another 8-5 year and started 7-1 last year before losing five straight.
Arizona has faced a brutal stretch of late, losing twice each to Oregon, Stanford and Oklahoma State during the recent downturn.
Arizona's last win over a major college school was, ironically, at UCLA last Oct. 30. The Wildcats have a bye this week before hosting UCLA on Oct. 20.
-- Chris Dufresne
Photo: Mike Stoops patrols the sideline during Saturday's loss to Oregon State at Reser Stadium. Credit: Jim Z. Rider / US Presswire