Arizona Wildcats hire Jedd Fisch as head football coach

Dec 23, 2020, 8:54 AM | Updated: 11:18 am
New Arizona head football coach Jedd Fisch. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)...
New Arizona head football coach Jedd Fisch. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The Arizona Wildcats named current New England Patriots quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch as their next head coach on Wednesday, pending an Arizona’ Board of Regents approval.

“We are tremendously excited to have Jedd Fisch come to Tucson to reinvigorate our football program and lead us to championships,” athletic director Dave Heeke said in a release. “Jedd has a unique ability to teach the game of football effectively to his players and to inspire them with his passion.

“We conducted a comprehensive national search with an impressive array of candidates but in the end, Jedd is exactly what our program needs right now and I cannot wait to partner with him to move us forward.”

The school’s pick to replace Kevin Sumlin will speak to reporters at a 12:30 p.m. news conference, the school said.

Fisch earns the job ahead of other top candidates that included San Jose State head coach Brent Brennan and Arizona State co-defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce.

Fisch, 44, does not have head coaching experience but has a diverse resume across different levels of football. He is in the first year of working under coach Bill Belichick for the Patriots and the prior two seasons held senior offensive analyst and assistant offensive coordinator roles with the Los Angeles Rams under offensive guru Sean McVay.

“I am honored and humbled to lead the University of Arizona football program,” Fisch said in a release. “I am 100% committed to building a program that all Wildcat fans will be proud to support. We will study hard, compete hard, recruit hard and be relentless in all aspects of our program. I want to thank President Robbins and Dave Heeke for their belief in me and in my vision for Arizona Football and my family and I cannot wait to immerse ourselves in the UA and Tucson communities.”

Fisch spent one year in 2017 with the UCLA Bruins acting as passing game coordinator, quarterbacks coach and then interim head coach when Jim Mora was fired. That is his only head coaching experience.

Prior to that, Fisch has stops in various coaching roles for the Michigan Wolverines (2015-16), the Jacksonville Jaguars (2013-14), the Miami Hurricanes (2011-12), the Seattle Seahawks (2010), the Minnesota Golden Gophers (2009), the Denver Broncos (2008), the Baltimore Ravens (2004-07) and the Houston Texans (2002-03). All of those roles except for his time with the Texans were offensively focused jobs.

A native of New Jersey who attended Florida but did not play collegiate football, Fisch has no ties to Arizona other than a relationship with president Dr. Robert Robbins, according to the Mercury News’ Jon Wilner.

Arizona’s press release announcing the official hire of Fisch included quotes from Belichick and Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.

“Jedd was on my first staff with the Seahawks,” Carroll said in the release. “I’ve followed his career closely over the years, and he is highly qualified for the job.

“Jedd is a gifted offensive mind, and he will do a great job leading and caring for the University of Arizona program.”

How Fisch’s hire lands with former Arizona players, hundreds of whom met with the athletic department regarding the next hire, remains to be seen.

Sumlin was fired on Dec. 11 the day after the 70-7 loss to rival Arizona State. Defensive Coordinator Paul Rhoads took over for Sumlin as the interim head coach.

The Territorial Cup loss was the final straw for Arizona, whose football team lost 12 games in a row extending to last season.

Sumlin left his tenure in Tucson with a 9-20 record over three seasons.

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