Outside of the Eddie Gran era, Mark Stoops has struggled to maintain continuity at offensive coordinator. Early in his tenure the Kentucky head coach tried the Air Raid system with two different assistants. Gran elevated the offense on the ground for a handful of years, but Stoops needed a change of direction. He solved the problem by turning to the pros. Liam Coen was so successful so fast, Stoops was looking for a third offensive coordinator in as many years. After finding Rich Scangarello in San Francisco, Stoops may not need to create a job posting anytime soon.
Since Scangarello arrived in Lexington this spring, he’s effusively praised the players and the program Mark Stoops built. He said all of the right things, and then some. Following his first win as the Kentucky offensive play-caller, Scangarello was taken aback by the game day experience at Kroger Field.
“It was awesome. I’ll tell you, it was probably exceeded my expectations and it wasn’t even really a big SEC game,” Rich Scangarello said last Tuesday. “It was just an opening game and I loved it: the environment, the (cat) walk, all of it. There are some things about college football, especially in the SEC, you can truly appreciate when you’re a part of it. It’s different in the NFL and honestly, it gave me chills.”
As Stoops searched for Coen’s replacement, many Kentucky football fans were concerned this would become an annual tradition if he continued looking for candidates from the NFL ranks. During the interview process, he asked Scangarello to pledge his allegiance to Kentucky for at least two years. Scangarello may end up giving Kentucky many more than that.
“I’m in no hurry to be a head coach,” he said just a few days after the Florida win. “My favorite thing in the world is coordinating. It’s fun, the strategy of it, getting guys to buy in and see them go, make it come alive. The euphoria after the game, it was probably as good a feeling as I’ve had coaching that I can remember. Quite honestly, it’s different in the SEC than the NFL. It was a cool feeling. It really was a special feeling. I was really happy for Coach (Stoops), the situation, the players, it was fun to be a part of.”
The 25-year coaching veteran will turn 50 next spring. He spent 17 years in the college ranks and seven in the NFL, including the last five seasons. He was asked if he feels more like a college or an NFL coach.
“I feel like I was put on this planet to teach. It’s just my subject is football. I love it and I’m passionate about it,” said Rich Scangarello.
“The game is slowing down for me. I’ve been around some incredibly talented mentors that have taught me a lot and I’m applying that now, just enjoying it. I’ve had more fun coaching here the last couple months than I can remember having ever. I’m going to continue to do that. I work for a really good man and a really good program. I will tell you, we coach guys like they’re pro players. They’re in college, but I feel like we’re going to be able to recruit who we want because they want to play in the NFL, they’re going to see that and it’s going to make us better too. I can’t wait to be a part of this for a long time.”
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