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Arizona Wildcats name Paul Rhoads as defensive coordinator

PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 5: Defensive Backs coach Paul Rhoads of the UCLA Bruins against her Oregon State Beavers in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 in Pasadena, California. Oregon State Beavers won 48-31. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

The Arizona Wildcats have named Paul Rhoads as their new defensive coordinator, the school announced in a press release on Friday.

“Paul is a man of personal and professional integrity,” head coach Kevin Sumlin said in the release. “He brings to Arizona a history of proven success as a leader and teacher who will bring a focus on relationships, communication and fundamentals. I look forward to working with Paul as we continue to position our program for future success.”

Rhoads has over 30 years of coaching experience under his belt that includes a stint as the head coach of Iowa State from 2009-15 and interim head coach of Arkansas in 2017.

The new Arizona DC was most recently at UCLA as a defensive backs coach from 2018-19. Prior to his tenure in the Pac-12, Rhoads served the same position at Arkansas in 2017, Auburn in 2008 and Pittsburgh from 2000-07.

“I can’t begin to express how excited and grateful I am to have the opportunity to work alongside Coach Sumlin and the rest of the Arizona Football Family,” Rhoads said in the release.

“I look forward to getting to know our student-athletes and getting to work on putting them in a position to be successful at a high level. (My wife) Vickie and I are thrilled to be able to become a part of the University of Arizona and Tucson community.”

During his time at the helm of Iowa State, Rhoads led the Cyclones to three bowl games that includes a victory in the 2009 Insight Bowl. He also produced four linebackers that received All-Big-12 first-team honors and two that were given All-America accolades.

But Rhoads’ best defenses came in his tenure with Pittsburgh, where 14 of his defensive players earned All-Big East first-team honors, including seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis.

In five of Rhoads’ seven seasons at the helm, the Panthers posted a top 30 scoring defense in five of Rhoads’ seven seasons, including three that finished in the top 12 in the country for the fewest amount of yards allowed. Pittsburgh finished its 2007 campaign ranked No. 5 in the nation in total defense.

Arizona fired former defensive coordinator Marcel Yates, linebackers coach John Rushing and defensive line coach Iona Uiagalelei over the course of the 2019 season.


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