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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDRB) -- The ink hadn't even dried on the news pages announcing new UK football coach Mark Stoops before wet ink was applied to t-shirts bearing his name.
"We're waiting for the coach's announcement," said Donald Ware, owner of the Inkspot printing shop in Lexington. "I don't think anybody thought it was going to be this soon."
Ware's store has the licensing agreement with the University of Kentucky, and within two hours of the announcement of Stoops being hired as UK's head coach, the store began printing t-shirts labeled "Stoops Troops."
"They'll be on Fan Outfitters website tonight and in Lexington and then in Louisville stores tomorrow," Ware said.
A thousand of the t-shirts will be printed and on store shelves before Stoops ever steps on the Lexington campus. The Florida State University defensive coordinator will replace Joker Phillips, who was fired as UK's coach weeks ago but finished out the season.
And it's not just the rhyme scheme or the t-shirts rolling off the press that have Wildcat fans excited. It's the prospect of a new start after a two-win season for UK football that ended with dwindling attendance figures at Commonwealth Stadium.
"It think it's exciting, a fresh face -- obviously we had a frustrating season, (Stoops) is a defensive-minded guy," said Connor Appleman, a UK sophomore.
Ware, a season ticket holder, admitted he only attended a few games.
"It'd be great to see the enthusiasm for basketball translate to football, but you have to have the product on the field," said Ware referring to UK's bad season.
Even the most diehard UK fans will admit this year was rough. And attendance at Commonwealth Stadium wasn't just bad -- it was bleak. Lexington's Herald-Leader newspaper even reported that UK Athletics stopped keeping track of tickets scanned at the last game.
"Um, I went to the Kent State game. I went to the Vandy... No, I didn't go to the Vandy game," said UK sophomore Scott King.
"We attended a few football games this year. I was too busy printing t-shirts," said Ware.
Mark Stoops' role outside of head coach might including becoming a pied piper leading UK fans back into Commonwealth Stadium. Which even Ware agrees will take more than ink on a t-shirt.
"I'd like to win every game, but I want to at least be competitive. It's gonna be a lot of fun," said Ware.
Reporter's note: The "Stoops Troops" t-shirts were printed without an apostrophe after "Stoops" in the possessive form. I noticed it too late to ask the printing house about the grammatical error printed on the t-shirts.