ESPN insider: Arizona job a ‘hidden jewel’

Oct 19, 2011, 7:30 PM | Updated: 11:02 pm

Few will doubt the assertion that whoever the next
football coach is at the University of Arizona will
inherit a better situation than his predecessor did.

The Wildcats, after all, have gone to a bowl game three
straight years (though the streak is likely to end this
season), and has some talent spread throughout the roster.

But they are 1-5 for a reason, and good teams don’t
usually can coaches midseason, if at all. So, how
attractive a job is it, really?

“From what I’ve been told and what I’ve heard, there are a
lot of coaches out there who are inquiring about this job,
because it’s a jewel. It’s a hidden jewel,” ESPN NCAA
football insider Mark May told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns
and Gambo.

A hidden jewel? Well, maybe. Possibly.

“You’re in the Southwest. Great weather. Facilities are
being improved. You’ve got a ton of money that you’re
pumping into your facilities,” May said. “You’re in a
conference right now that is going to be stable for 25 or
50 years. You’re got a great television package, easy to
recruit, great weather.”

True, Arizona has more going for it than some would admit,
but is it a better job than some others that could become
available? For instance, UCLA is rumored to be ready to
part with Rick Neuheisel, and most would say Southern
California is better for football than the Old Pueblo.

But as of now the UCLA job isn’t open, meaning Arizona may
be the most attractive job out there, even with the lack
of tradition on the gridiron. Besides, May said being the
only game in town in Tucson may be better than being one
of many attractions in Los Angeles.

“That’s the challenge and the opportunity for a real good
coach to take over that system,” May said. “You’ve got a
new athletic director, you’ve got a ton of money that is
going to be infused into these facilities.

“If you’re Chris Petersen or somebody like that, you’re
sitting there, saying, ‘Let me see, got money, got
backing, got fan support, got alumni support, got a great,
dynamic athletic director, got an opportunity here to do
some great things.’ And you’re playing in the Pac-12

May says a couple good years of recruiting could lead to
Arizona being one of the premier schools in the Pac-12
South, which makes it even more appealing.

“All of a sudden you have a terrific opportunity to build
something great here,” he said.

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ESPN insider: Arizona job a ‘hidden jewel’