New Troy coach Jon Sumrall explains why he’ll coach with Kentucky in Citrus Bowl

·3 min read

Though he now has a new job, Jon Sumrall wants to finish his old one.

The new head football coach at Troy said Monday he will coach the linebackers for Kentucky in the Wildcats’ Citrus Bowl game against Iowa on Jan. 1, 2022.

“I am going to coach in the bowl game,” Sumrall told reporters in a conference call. “Coach (Mark) Stoops and I have communicated. Mr. (Mitch) Barnhart and I have communicated about it, as well. The plan is for me to coach in the bowl game.

“I’d love to get win No. 10 and coaching some of those young men there that mean so much to me. I really will cherish one more opportunity to go out with those guys that I’ve had the opportunity to coach at Kentucky.”

An assistant at Troy from 2015-18 under Neal Brown, Sumrall spent the past three seasons at his alma mater. He was named Troy’s new head coach last Thursday. A native of Huntsville, Ala., Sumrall replaces Chip Lindsey, who went 15-19 in three seasons at the Sun Belt Conference school.

Asked to expound on why it was important for him to coach one more game with Kentucky, Sumrall said, “The University of Kentucky is important to me. The young men on that football team are important to me. Getting win No. 10 is important to me, and finishing the job.”

Sumrall told reporters that after a knee injury ended his career at Kentucky, former UK coach Rich Brooks was instrumental in starting him in coaching. He also talked about what he learned from being on Mark Stoops’ staff at Kentucky.

“I think Coach Stoops really understands how to evaluate the most important critical factors to building a great program and emphasizing those,” Sumrall said. “He’s very detailed, very thorough. He has a great relationship with our players. As a head coach, he’s so engaged to the pulse of our team. The guys on the roster at Kentucky understand how much he cares about them.”

After being named head coach at Troy, Sumrall flew back to Lexington for UK’s recruiting visits. He returned with his family to Alabama on Sunday night and said he will spend the next two weeks at Troy before rejoining UK for the bowl game.

“I really want to emphasize that, yeah, I’m doing this job right now, and that’s what’s next, but I’m going to finish this job before I fully move on,” said the coach. “Most of my attention the next couple of weeks is going to be on Troy. I’ll do things here and there for Kentucky. And I’ll continue to do whatever Coach Stoops asks of me, but at the same time next couple of weeks I’ll be busy here.

“But I’m coaching the (bowl) game because I want to finish the job. I want to finish it for Coach Stoops. I want to finish it with (defensive coordinator) Brad White. I want to finish it for the linebackers I coach. I want to finish it for the university. I want to see us get to 10 wins and finish in the top 25.”

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