The 5: Things to know about new Arizona head football coach Jedd Fisch
Dec 24, 2020, 12:00 PM | Updated: 1:09 pm
(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
For the second time since 2018, the Arizona Wildcats have a new head football coach.
This time around, it’s former New England Patriots quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch taking over at the helm.
However, this wasn’t Fisch’s first interview with Arizona, as the new Wildcats head coach was also a candidate for the job back in 2017 when the school decided to go with Kevin Sumlin.
This also won’t be Fisch’s first gig in college football or even the Pac-12, as the head coach has spent time with Florida (1999-2000), Miami (2011-2012), Michigan (2015-16) and UCLA (2017).
Here are the five things to know about the Arizona Wildcats’ new head football coach Jedd Fisch:
While Fisch has never been hired as a head coach and has only served in an interim capacity, the former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach has a rather impressive list of coaching apprenticeships.
Since enrolling at the University of Florida as a student back in 1999 because of then-head coach Steve Spurrier, Fisch has also worked under the likes of Brian Billick, Vic Fangio, Mike Shanahan, Pete Carroll, Jim Harbaugh, Sean McVay and Bill Belichick.
“My approach is direct. It is a direct reflection of many of the great leaders of whom I’ve had the honor of working, and they’ve all taught me how to win and what it means to win and how to win big,” Fisch told reporters via Zoom on Wednesday.
“We will bring back Desert Swarm and we will do it in our unique way. We need to swarm the state of Arizona. We need to own the state of Arizona. We have a five-game lead in the Territorial Cup after 94 games, and we need to extend that lead. And it comes from ownership of the Pac-12 South — it becomes of ownership of the state of Arizona.”
Leaving sticky notes on Spurrier’s car
Believe it or not, but there’s no questioning how badly Fisch wanted to get into football.
As a student at Florida before having multiple graduate assistant coaches was the norm, he left sticky notes on Spurrier’s car asking to meet with the new Arizona head coach to discuss the X’s and O’s of the game.
After over a whopping 400 days (over a year straight), Spurrier finally invited Fisch in for a meeting and the rest is history, as the two maintain a close personal relationship to this day.
Fisch joked that a lot of creativity went into those sticky notes and that they weren’t the same every day.
“I didn’t just hit computer-print and redo it again,” he explained. “We had handwritten notes, we had packets — everything possible to sell and to get an opportunity to be resilient, and that’s one of our core traits with our Arizona football players.”
Daughter enrolled at Arizona
If Fisch needed a non-football reason to choose the Wildcats’ head coaching job, look no further than his family.
The head coach’s oldest daughter is a 21-year-old student at the University of Arizona, as well as at Pima Community College in Tucson.
Fisch said he’s excited to bring the family together again and that his 11-year-old middle daughter “will be a regular in the football building and on the practice field.”
“We are a football family and when we enter Tucson, Arizona, and the gates of the campus of the University of Arizona, we will make the entire university proud and we will be a part of everything the university has to offer,” he said.
Fisch — who turns 45 years old in May — had to have major heart surgery back in 2003 prior to the age of 30.
The operation was performed by Dr. Joseph Coselli, who later became a colleague of university president Robert Robbins, who is also a cardiac surgeon.
However, Robbins told reporters during a Zoom call on Wednesday that although there is a heart connection, the first time he met Fisch was during the 2017 interview process.
Never played football
Perhaps the most bizarre bit about Fisch is the fact that he was never an actual football player.
Other than coaching, the closest he came to stepping on the playing field was as a ball boy for a high school team.
But that hasn’t stopped the former tennis player from New Jersey in his quest to become a head coach of a Division I college football program, which came to fruition on Wednesday.
“I can’t list [everyone], but please know that you are an integral part of making this tennis player the head football coach at the University of Arizona.”