Stoops says UK is lucky to keep White as defensive coordinator

Published 8:45 am Tuesday, August 1, 2023


Contributing columnist

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops talked about how lucky he has been to keep defensive coordinator Brad During SEC Football Media Days last week in Nashville. White has helped make UK one of the better defenses in the SEC annually and UK is expecting another solid defensive unit this year led by All-American defensive lineman Deone Walker.

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Stoops admitted White has had plenty of chances to leave Kentucky.

“I know this, the coaching profession knows what he’s doing. My phone doesn’t stop ringing about him in the offseason,” Stoops said during an appearance with Greg McElroy and Cole Cubelic on their radio show. “And to Brad’s credit, he’s always just been extremely loyal.

“I think he really likes the situation he’s in in Lexington and has worked extremely hard and just does a remarkable job year in and year out. I’m very grateful. I think he really likes the situation. I love having him.”

He also praised new running backs and special teams coordinator Jay Boulware.

“Offensively, I gotta get back on track and I also needed to make a big push in the special teams area and that’s where hiring Jay Boulware comes in,” Stoops said. “Jay was as important to me.

“I knew Jay from his time working in Oklahoma. He worked at Texas. He’s been around and I knew him personally, and it was very important for me to get Jay back and to improve on the special team side.”

Former players remember Johnson

Long-time Harrodsburg High School football coach Alvis Johnson, who recently passed away at age 76 after a distinguished career as a coach, teacher and administrator, sent several players to play at UK, including his sons Dennis and Derrick Johnson along with Craig Yeast. He also had five players go on to NFL careers.

“Coach is always in our prayers. He lived a phenomenal life and affected so many lives with his discipline, tough love or just straight love,” said Yeast.  “Coach Johnson was our high school history teacher, our head football coach, our athletics director, our head track coach.

“But the more important aspect that affected all of us was his faith in God. He was a deacon in the church and remains a deacon at Centennial Baptist Church.”

Yeast, one of the former players who was a pallbearer at Johnson’s funeral, is now the head football coach at Mercer County and his Titans play their game at Alvis Johnson Field, the same field Yeast played on when he played for Johnson.

“There will never be another man like Alvis Jonson. We can only strive to be as close to the type of man as he is,” Yeast said.  “I love that man. I love Mrs. (Rosetta) Johnson.. There was a time in my life if not for them I do not know if I would have made it to college and be where I am today.

“Coach Johnson is a  man of faith and then a coach. He is a great individual, a man who loves God. We are all part of his family. He loves us all unconditionally and that will never change.”

Former Kentucky quarterback Derrick Ramsey, who led UK to a 10-win season in 1977, came to Harrodsburg for Johnson’s visitation and funeral.

“Alvis Johnson was a special man who meant a lot to me,” Ramsey said. “He was just very, very unique and touched more lives than I am sure he ever realized and he was a good friend to me.”

UK football coach Mark Stoops credits defensive coordinator Brad White for building a consistently stingy defense. UK Athletics photo

Alivis Johnson and son Derrick at a UK football game. Photo submitted