“I want to win the Rose Bowl at the University of
Want to win the press conference at Arizona? Talk about
going to the Rose Bowl and making beating Arizona State a
Rich Rodriguez did both Tuesday as he was introduced as
the new football coach at Arizona Tuesday, and after
wading through all the clichés, platitudes, jokes and
anecdotes there was one simple, undeniable fact:
Arizona football is relevant again. Or for the first
“We had great interest in the position, and the name we
kept coming back to throughout was Rich Rodriguez,” Byrne
It is apparent athletic director Greg Byrne set out to hit
a home run with this hire, and Rodriguez represents a
You see, it’s worth remembering the fact that this is the
University of Arizona, so there was no chance an Urban
Meyer, Nick Saban, Les Miles or anyone of the sort would
be interested in the job.
No, Arizona was either going to get a hot shot
coordinator, a successful head coach from a smaller school
or a retread who, for whatever reason, is looking for a
new job. Arizona tried the coordinator route when it hired
Stoops, and that didn’t work out as hoped. So why not go
with someone who had big-time success in a big-time
conference not long ago?
“I had a long discussion with Urban Meyer during this
process,” Byrne said of the former Florida coach. “He
said, ‘Greg, if you hire Rich Rodriguez you’re getting one
of the five greatest minds in college football. That would
be an incredible hire for the University of Arizona.'”
Sure, Rodriguez does not come without some baggage. He
left West Virginia under shady circumstances, was kicked
out of Ann Arbor after just three years and has had run-
ins with the NCAA over compliance issues.
But he’s also won. A lot. That’s more than could be said
for pretty much every coach who has been hired to lead the
Still, some are concerned with his lack of experience
coaching out west, thinking he will struggle to land
recruits because he’s unfamiliar with the area.
Rodriguez said he will hire coaches with west-coast ties,
and the guy already has familiarity with an Arizona high
school called Chaparral, and they’ve been known to produce
a quality player or two.
And Rodriguez has been known to produce some exciting
“You’ll see a passionate team, you’ll see a team that’s
committed, you’ll see a team in great shape and you’ll see
a team that plays hard,” Rodriguez said.