Rich Rodriguez Hiring As Arizona's Next Football Coach: We'll See How This One Turns Out

Lots of talk in Sportsland about the hiring today in Tucson of Rich Rodriguez as the Arizona Wildcats' next head football coach.

Price tag: 5-year deal for $9.55 million.

Nice work if you can get it, huh? 

ixed bag of opinions about the hiring from what we've heard so far, in large part because of Rodriguez's failed three-year experiment at the helm of the Michigan Wolverines--and not just in the all-important wins and losses department.

ICoach Rodriguez is anything but squeaky-clean.

Numerous media reports note the four "major" NCAA violations against the program that were upheld during his tenure (which ended with his firing last January). 

Still, college football devotees will remember Rodriguez's great successes during a seven-year run at West Virginia (61 wins and just 26 losses), during which time the Mountaineers annually were among Division One's most exciting teams.

But those same fans also will recall the end of the line for the coach there, what with lawsuits and bad vibes--the opposite of how you want to leave what was a lucrative career-turning gig.  

Then came Rodriguez's very disappointing stretch up in Ann Arbor, one of college football's traditional meccas,

The Arizona Wildcats have been in football limbo for some time now, making but three postseason bowl games since 1998, after a stretch before that where the program was among the Pac-10's (now the Pac-12) best.

Put it this way: The expectations in Tucson will be nowhere near as profound for Rodriguez as they would be if had been named to coach the Wildcats' basketball team, where current head coach Sean Miller (Final Four or no Final Four on his resume) is a few lousy seasons from having to pack his bags and move elsewhere.

Rodriguez enters a good position, speaking for his own position: Arizona will go into next season having won but three or four games this year (the Cats play Louisiana-Lafayette this weekend in its season-ender).

Anything to surpass that next season will be a godsend to the new coach, who will have an excellent resdhirt senior quarterback named Matt Scott to lead the offense.

As for sideline comportment, anyone, and we mean anyone, will handle himself better than the departed Mike Stoops, who usually acted like an 8-year-old during games, and an immature 8-year-old at that. Some of us who are UA grads cringed at the sight of Stoops' antics time and again.

We are even more curious now whom the ASU Sun Devils will choose after President Michael Crow and vice-president for athletics Lisa Love said goodbye to disastrous head coach Dennis Erickson in the not-too-distant future


KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Paul Rubin
Contact: Paul Rubin