Happy days in Tucson.
Arizona Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez and linebacker Scooby Wright were honored on Tuesday for their achievements this season.
The third-year coach was named the Pac-12 Conference Coach of the Year for leading the Wildcats to a 10-2 record — 7-2 in Pac-12 play — and a south division championship.
The Wildcats’ 10th win came against Arizona State and earned them a spot in the conference championship against Oregon on Friday.
The defensive leader of those 10 wins was Wright. He wins the Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year award.
Wright led the conference in forced fumbles with six and was third in the nation in sacks, getting to opposing quarterbacks 14 times. He also tracked down other ballcarriers behind the line of scrimmage, recording 27 tackles for loss. Good enough to lead the country.
The sophomore was named the player of the week three times throughout the season, including last week against the Sun Devils. He finished the season with 139 tackles, an average of 11.6 per game.
It was the Wildcats’ third season of 10 or more wins in school history and its first 10-win regular season since 1998.
Rodriguez is the first Wildcat coach to win the honor since Dick Tomey in 1992.
Wright is Arizona’s eighth Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and the first since Tedy Bruschi in 1995. He’s also the first underclassmen to win the award since Washington’s Steve Entman in 1990.
If the Wildcats beat the Ducks on Friday they will find themselves in the discussion of potentially being a team to play in the first College Football Playoff.