‘Dying to be the best’ as UAB wins Big 12 title

Alabama coach Mark Stoops, who was named the conference’s Coach of the Year on Wednesday, died in his sleep Thursday, according to the UAB Athletic Department.

Stoops, 62, had been diagnosed with lung cancer on Wednesday.

He is survived by his wife, Terri, two sons, Jake and Andrew, and a daughter, Emily.

“Coach Stoops was a coach who loved his players, his team and his state and was forever grateful for the opportunity to work for him,” UAB athletic director Bill Clark said in a statement.

“His love for his players and his staff was contagious throughout the university, and his influence on the lives of our student-athletes and their families will be felt for generations to come.”

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce Mark Stoop’s passing,” Clark said.

“Mark was an outstanding coach who was a great leader for us and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

The UAB football team defeated Alabama in the Cotton Bowl, a College Football Playoff semifinal game that will be played in Birmingham on Jan. 4.

After losing to Oklahoma in the title game, the Crimson Tide went on to win the Big 12 championship, defeating Baylor on Saturday.

UAB, a public school, was founded in 1950 and is located in Birmingham.

It is the only school in the state to win three straight BCS titles.

The school’s previous Coach of The Year was Steve Spurrier, who served as UAG’s coach from 2001-13.

Alabama’s next football coach, Chris Weinke, is the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears.

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