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Rodriguez sets lofty goals in Tucson

Less than twenty-four hours after athletic director Greg
Byrne announced his hiring via Twitter, Rich Rodriguez was
introduced at a press conference at McKale Center on
Tuesday.

And it didn’t take long for Rodriguez to endear himself to
the locals by saying all the right things.

“I want to win the Rose Bowl at the University of
Arizona,”
Rodriguez said to a round of cheers and applause. “I want
to
be in the top ten in the country every year, I want every
one of our players to graduate with a University of
Arizona
degree and I want them to represent our university the
right
way on and off the field.”

Rodriguez comes to Tucson with a mixed résumé. At his
alma mater, West Virginia, Rodriguez posted a 60-26 record
with a share of four Big East titles and six
consecutive bowl appearances.

Amid controversy, Rodriguez left West Virginia to take the
head coaching job at Michigan where his programs struggled
to a 15-22 record (6-18 in Big Ten play) and only one bowl
appearance in three seasons. Rodriguez-coached Wolverines
teams posted the first back-to-back losing seasons at
Michigan since 1962 and 1963. Following a 7-6 season in
2010, Rodriguez was shown the door.

The total compensation in Rodriguez’s Arizona contract is
for $9.55 million over five years. The contract also
calls for a $150,000 bonus for a BCS championship game
appearance and a $100,000 bonus for an appearance in any
BCS bowl.

“You’ve got a great college town that supports your
university and supports your athletics, you’ve got great
academics, you’ve got weather,” Rodriguez told the crowd.
“You’re in an outstanding league that is going to continue
to get more exposure, you can recruit great players from
your area to come down here, so why not Arizona? Why not
us? Why can’t we win it all?”

The subject of Rodriguez’s brief and tumultuous tenure and
sudden departure at Michigan did come up during the
introductory press conference.

“I thought that at the time we got there, after the first
spring, it would take a little more than three years and
we’d slowly get better,” Rodriguez said. “I thought year
four and year five, we’d be lights out. But year four and
year five, they’re doing pretty good.”

Rodriguez becomes the 30th coach in Arizona football
history.