Arizona Wildcats Next Head Coach: Top 5 Options After Rich Rodriguez

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The University of Arizona has fired football coach Rich Rodriguez after a $7.5M claim filed against him with the state attorney general’s office alleged that he ran a hostile workplace.
According to The Arizona Daily Star, University president Robert C. Robbins and athletic director Dave Heeke have said that the school will honor Rodriguez’s contract, paying him an expected $6 million buyout. As they explained in a statement, “While this is a difficult decision, it is the right decision and it is a decision that lives up to the core values of the University of Arizona.”

For his part, Rodriguez issued a statement on social media, claiming what had been said against him in the claim was untrue, adding that he assisted with the investigation and took a polygraph test. As he wrote:

“I am not a perfect man, but the claims by my former assistant are simply not true and her demands for a financial settlement are outrageous. I am saddened that these accusations and investigation have caused my family additional stress.”

For the time being, however, there is still the issue of Rodriguez’s replacement. We’ve collected five possible candidates.

Who could be the next choice for Arizona?

Kevin Sumlin

A former player, Sumlin has the titles of head coach at Texas A&M University and the University of Houston on his resume. Sumlin also has some connections to ASU; current Arizona defensive coordinator Marcel Yates was his defensive coordinator during his time at A&M. He also worked with former Arizona quarterback, B.J. Denker.

Lane Kiffin

Kiffin is currently the head coach at Florida Atlantic University. Rodriguez is arguably a fan; he voted for the USC Trojans while they were under Kiffin for the 2012 USA Today Coaches’ Poll.

Mark Helfrich

Former coach Helfrich was previously the head coach for the University of Oregon. He also has a past with Arizona state, working as an assistant coach under Dirk Koetter from 2001 to 2005.

Joe Salave’a

Who better than an alum? Salave’a attended and played at Arizona for three years. He had also been the Defensive Line coach at the school, with more recent coaching jobs at Washington State and Oregon.

Marcel Yates

Yates is already the interim coach during Rodriguez’s dismissal. If he does a good enough job, anything could happen.

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