Monday, November 21, 2011
Is Rich Rod heading to Arizona?
By Ted Miller
It appears that Rich Rodriguez, the former Michigan coach who had major success at West Virginia, shortly will be named the next coach at Arizona, multiple sources have reported, including ESPN's Joe Schad.
Rodriguez, 48, who is currently working for CBS after being fired at Michigan, would replace Mike Stoops, who was terminated on Oct. 9.
It's certainly a hire that will generate buzz in Tucson. Rodriguez is a spread-option maestro, and you'd think he'd be a good match for the athletic Matt Scott, the Wildcats' likely starter in 2012. Rodriguez is also a polished guy who is widely viewed as a good recruiter.
CBS' Bruce Feldman reported that Rodriguez is "expected to bring several of his assistants from Michigan and West Virginia with him to Tucson." That could include respected West Virginia defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel.
Still, Rodriguez has no West Coast background. You'd think he'd want to hire at least a couple of assistants who are familiar with the West Coast recruiting landscape.
Rodriguez went 15-22 at Michigan, a tenure that seemed doomed from the start because of the bad feelings his hiring inspired in West Virginia and his newfangled ways in a place that values "Michigan Man" tradition above all else. At West Virginia, he went 60-26 in seven seasons and led the Mountaineers to two BCS bowl games his final three seasons.
It will be interesting to see the contract numbers. Rodriguez signed a six-year, $15-million contract with Michigan in 2007. Stoops was making just $1,465,000.
It's almost certain that Arizona is about to become the fourth Pac-12 school to pay its head coach more than $2 million a year, joining USC, Oregon and California.
Another good thing about hiring Rodriguez: He can start immediately. He's not stuck coaching a team in a bowl game. He could start recruiting on Tuesday.
Or maybe he already has?