Rich Rodriguez
courtesy of J&L Photo

The University of Arizona introduced Rich Rodriguez as the new head coach of the Wildcats’ football team.

Rodriguez, 48, was most recently head coach at Michigan from 2008 to 2010 and made a Division I statement as head coach from 2001-07 at West Virginia where he compiled a 60-26 record and won four Big East Conference championships. He has served as a football analyst for CBS Sports for the past year.

Rodriguez becomes Arizona’s 30th head coach, succeeding Tim Kish, who took over on an interim basis for eight-year UA coach Mike Stoops Oct. 9, after the Wildcats opened the year 1-5.

Kish has guided the Wildcats to an overall 4-8 record, with a victory over Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday.

During the Nov. 23 press conference, University of Arizona Athletic Director Greg Byrne introduced Rodriguez.

“We looked far and wide for our next coach and found what we were looking for in Rich Rodriguez,” said Byrne. “He’s a talented, proven leader with outstanding success at the top level of college football.”

After being introduced, Rodriguez said he is excited for the opportunity, saying he wants to win the Rose Bowl for the University of Arizona.

“I’m eager to get back to coaching and look forward to becoming part of the Arizona family,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a great individual opportunity for me and I believe that outstanding success is on the horizon for Arizona Football.”

Rodriguez said the Wildcats may have had a tough season, but the team has good players and good coaches.

“I will not just coach University of Arizona football, I’m going to live it,” Rodriguez added.

With the new job, Rodriguez will be coaching several players from Oro Valley, including Ka’Deem Carey, a graduate of Canyon Del Oro, Jake Fischer, a graduate of Ironwood Ridge, Josh Robbins, of Canyon Del Oro and Jared Tevis, from Canyon Del Oro.

Rodriguez carries a career college coaching record of 120-84-2 in 18 seasons, marked by Division I records of 60-26 at West Virginia and 15-22 at Michigan.

Rodriguez’ West Virginia teams were Big East Champions four seasons in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007, appearing in two BCS bowls, the 2005 Sugar Bowl with a victory over Georgia for an 11-1 record and a victory over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl to finish 10-2 shortly after Rodriguez had left for Michigan.

His 2006 club finished 11-2 after a victory over Georgia Tech in the Gator Bowl. He also coached the 2002 Mountaineers to the Continental Tire Bowl and Gator Bowl appearances in 2003 and 2004. Rodriguez graduated in 1986 from West Virginia, where he started as a walk-on in 1981 and became a three-year letter winner as a defensive back from 1982-84. He added a master’s degree from Salem in 1987. He is a native of Grant Town, W. Va., and graduated from North Marion High School. Rich and his wife, Rita, have two children, Raquel, 15, and Rhett, 13.

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