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Offensive line coach Zach Yenser, three other UK assistants sign contract extensions

After firing wide receivers coach Scott Woodward, Mark Stoops has signed his other Kentucky football coaches on expiring contracts to extensions.

Offensive line coach Zach Yenser, safeties coach Frank Buffano and linebackers coach Mike Stoops have each signed contract extensions since the end of the regular season with their previous deals set to expire in June. Defensive line coach Anwar Stewart, whose previous contract was not set to expire until June 2025, was also awarded an extension and raise.

Buffano, Mike Stoops and Stewart are now signed through the 2025 season. Yenser’s extension runs through the 2024 season. The salaries for Buffano ($415,000), Yenser ($650,000) and Mike Stoops ($675,000) will remain the same for the 2024 season as 2023, but Buffano and Mike Stoops are scheduled for $25,000 raises in 2025. Stewart’s new contract includes a $125,000 raise for next season, increasing his salary from $375,000 to $500,000. He would receive another $25,000 raise in 2025.

The extensions signal an end to staff changes for the Wildcats after Kentucky’s 7-5 2023 regular season, unless one of the assistants leaves UK for another job.

Mark Stoops, who was reportedly on the verge of leaving UK for Texas A&M after the Governor’s Cup rivalry upset of Louisville to close the regular season only to announce he would return to Lexington, still has to hire a replacement for Woodward.

“There’s a lot of things I want (in a wide receivers coach).” Mark Stoops said when asked about the staff opening at his Monday news conference. “I don’t care to say them out loud because I don’t want to act like Coach Woodward wasn’t that. There’s some things I’m looking for, yes.”

Buffano, a longtime Stoops family friend who also attended Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Ohio, has worked on Kentucky’s staff throughout Mark Stoops’ 11-year tenure. He moved from a support staff position to safeties coach prior to the 2020 season. Mike Stoops, Mark’s older brother and former Arizona head coach, joined the staff before the 2022 season.

The extension for Yenser was perhaps the most noteworthy as Kentucky’s offensive line play has come under intense criticism since he joined the staff in 2022. That unit did post improvement this season, surrendering 20 sacks in 12 regular season games after ranking 126th of 131 teams in sacks allowed (46) in 2022.

Kentucky has one more year of payments remaining on the contract of former offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, who was fired after the 2022 season. He will be paid $1.1 million from July 2024 to June 2025. UK’s obligation to Scangarello can be mitigated by any salary he accepts with another coaching position.

Offensive line coach Zach Yenser will return for a third season at Kentucky after his unit posted improvement in 2023 from an abysmal 2022 season.
Offensive line coach Zach Yenser will return for a third season at Kentucky after his unit posted improvement in 2023 from an abysmal 2022 season.

2024 Kentucky football assistant coach salaries

Offensive coordinator Liam Coen: $1.8 million

Defensive coordinator Brad White: $1.6 million

Associate head coach Vince Marrow: $1.3 million

Linebackers coach Mike Stoops: $675,000

Offensive line coach Zach Yenser: $650,000

Special teams coordinator Jay Boulware: $550,000

Defensive line coach Anwar Stewart: $500,000

Safeties coach Frank Buffano: $415,000

Cornerbacks coach Chris Collins: $400,000

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