UA athletic director Jim Livengood this week is scheduled to formally ask the Arizona Board of Regents to redo Mike Stoops’ contract and extend it through 2010.

UA athletic director Jim Livengood this week is scheduled to formally ask the Arizona Board of Regents to redo Mike Stoops' contract and extend it through 2010.

It's not unprecedented that a college football coach is given an extension after two losing seasons — Stoops has gone 3-8 and 3-8 at Arizona — but it is both unusual and bold.

Livengood has been around college football for 25 years and trusts his instincts with Stoops. He has witnessed dynamic upgrades in recruiting, player retention, community attitude and interest.

The gamble Livengood is taking is the possibility that Arizona encounters bad luck in 2006 and fails to reach or exceed .500. That's possible in any program, even Notre Dame and USC. But the Wildcats undeniably have made more progress than Livengood could have expected since hiring Stoops in November 2003.

Last week, for example, Arizona was given recruiting commitments from two receivers, Sierra Vista Buena's Devin Veal and David Roberts of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and Honolulu quarterback Bryson Bierne. Two years ago, Arizona could not have touched offensive players of that level. Now the Wildcats are getting them eight months before signing deadline.

Arizona beat Oregon State and Cal for Bierne, using sophomore QB Willie Tuitama as a recruiting magnet, something the UA has forever lacked. Bierne told the Honolulu Advertiser, "I talked to Willie. I'm a real big fan of what he does. He's full Samoan, so it's a (Polynesian) pride thing." The UA's touted incoming QB recruit, Tyler Lyon of Newhall, Calif., is expected to arrive in Tucson today.

Arizona's quarterback recruiting, orchestrated by offensive coordinator Mike Canales, has become typical of the recruiting excellence that prompted Livengood to rewrite Stoops' contract before customary market guidelines. The AD's approach seems to be: pay now or pay later. (Or perhaps lose Stoops later).

At the Board of Regents meeting, Livengood also will request multiyear contract extensions, through 2009, for track coach Fred Harvey, golf coaches Rick LaRose and Greg Allen, soccer coach Dan Tobias, women's tennis coach Vicky Maes and gymnastics coach Bill Ryden.

Those personnel decisions are reflective of the success Arizona enjoyed in 2005-06.

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