Kentucky football: Anwar Stewart signs contract extension
Defensive line coach Anwar Stewart is set to return to Mark Stoops’ Kentucky football staff next season.
Stewart, whose previous contract was set to expire in June, signed a two-year extension to remain at his alma mater on Dec. 1. The contract, which will pay an annual salary of $350,000 next season and $375,000 for the 2024 season, was released by UK’s Office of Legal Counsel.
Kentucky’s defensive line faced significant turnover in 2022, losing two starters from the year before, but was singled out for praise by Stoops late in the season.
“I love their energy,” Stoops said of the defensive line before the regular-season finale. “That’s one group where I have to give them credit because I think all of our team can learn from them even during the moments when we were talking about motivation and getting them ready and the grind of the season. Really have been pleased with the leadership and the growth in there.
“The energy they bring to practice every day. They’re working hard to get better. It’s carrying right over to the field. And they’re setting a good example for a young guy like Deone (Walker). Deone’s playing good and he has good guys around him that are encouraging him and working hard.”
Playing as a freshman, Walker was named second-team All-SEC by the Associated Press. He totaled 39 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack, five quarterback hurries, two pass breakups and one forced fumble in the regular season. Pro Football Focus also named him to its True Freshman All-America Team.
Nose guard Justin Rogers was another standout for the defense, showing enough improvement that the former five-star recruit is now mentioned as a candidate to leave school early to enter the 2023 NFL Draft. Late in the season, redshirt freshman lineman Jamarius Dinkins impressed during his first stint in the rotation, playing a key role in a goal-line stop of No. 1 Georgia.
“Stew is doing a good job coaching them,” Stoops said. “I really give a shout-out to those guys for their preparation, their work, and they’re getting better.”
If Stewart were to leave Kentucky for another job, he would owe the school a buyout worth $12,500 per month remaining on his deal.
Stewart played at Kentucky from 1996 to 1999. He started his coaching career in a support staff role for Stoops from 2017 to 2018 before returning to Lexington in 2020 after one season as defensive line coach at Appalachian State.
Jon Hale is the University of Kentucky football beat writer for the Lexington Herald-Leader. He joined the Herald-Leader in 2022 but has covered UK athletics for more than 10 years. Hale was named the 2021 Kentucky Sportswriter of the Year.