Mark Stoops has led Kentucky to a bowl game for the 6th consecutive season. And for the 4th year in a row, he’ll look to lead the Wildcats to a season-ending win.

Kentucky is set to take on Iowa in the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day, marking the 2nd time in 4 years that the Wildcats will appear in that game. They beat Penn State in the Citrus Bowl at the end of the 2018 season.

This time, Kentucky is facing another Big Ten program, 1 that Stoops has a connection to. He played for the Hawkeyes from 1986-88, then began his coaching career with them. His brothers, Bob and Mike, also both played and coached for Iowa.

Kentucky is 9-3 and won 3 straight games to end the regular season, while Iowa is 10-3 after losing to Michigan in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Here are 3 interesting things that Stoops said about the upcoming Citrus Bowl while speaking to the media on Sunday:

  • On Iowa program’s importance to his family: “It’s hard to put into words what the Iowa program has meant to us. In the early part of our careers, whether it was playing or getting started in coaching, I remember as a young child, going and getting in the car, playing football games on Friday night, my dad coaching on Friday night. Getting in the car, driving 10 hours, arriving in the morning, watching my brothers play, and staying Saturday night, getting back in the car, driving another 10 hours back home.”
  • On bowl game helping recruiting efforts: “Everything helps. The fact that we’ve been consistent. We’ve been winning games. And, again, like most teams, we want more. We want to keep on pushing. But it does help when you go into bowl games, go into Florida and we’re looking forward to that experience.”
  • On his extension with Kentucky: “It’s been a really good marriage between the University of Kentucky and myself. There’s ups and there’s downs, but there’s always that way. And I feel very proud to be there for 9 years and to be part of that and continue to build that program.”

Kentucky and Iowa will kick off in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. ET on ABC.