With so many college football coaching vacancies so early in the 2015 season, it’s easy to tag Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez to any of the rumors.
This weekend, a lot of noise tied Rodriguez to the Virginia Tech opening now that coach Frank Beamer announced he will retire after the season. Rodriguez, who grew up in West Virginia, is familiar with Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock, who was with RichRod during a successful run at West Virginia.
All this speculation could create a distraction for Rodriguez’s current Arizona team, but the head coach told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Doug and Wolf on Monday that it’s business as usual in Tucson as the Wildcats prepare for No. 10 Utah this week.
“Nobody’s asking me about it. I don’t really address it,” Rodriguez said of the rumors. “There was like a story about Virginia Tech, and I haven’t talked to anybody from Virginia Tech so I don’t know why … the rumors come out. I think rumors come out earlier now than before because there have been more coaches either fired or resigned midseason than ever before.
“We’re doing the same thing as a staff,” he added. “We’re in early, we’re working hard. Our focus is completely on our next opponent. I think our players see that we’re completely focused on what we’re doing right now.”
Rodriguez’s name has also been included in head coaching rumors regarding South Carolina, Miami and even West Virginia (though his buyout bumps up from $500,000 to $1 million if he leaves Arizona for WVU).
There are many reasons RichRod would like to remain with the Wildcats. He could profit financially from staying in Tucson to receive a stock option annuity on top of his football salary, and his children have roots in the Old Pueblo.
But a return closer to RichRod’s home state, where football is priority, may be intriguing.
It’s assumed Virginia Tech will at least ask, as The Arizona Republic’s Paola Boivin reports. Maybe the Hokies already have done so indirectly.
For the time being, it appears Rodriguez remains focused on getting his Wildcats (5-5) back above .500 and into a bowl game — unless one dream job opens up.
“Let’s go to like the Bahamas,” Rodriguez told Wolf, who played with RichRod at West Virginia. “They got a university down there. Toes in the water, it’d be nice.”
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