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Posted on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 5:18 p.m.

Rich Rodriguez introduced as Arizona's new football coach

By Staff


Rich Rodriguez on being Arizona's new football coach: "I'm at a pretty neat place."

Associated Press

It was part press conference, part football pep rally.

The University of Arizona introduced Rich Rodriguez as its new football coach Tuesday, and it welcomed fans and media members to the show.

Rodriguez, just over 10 months removed from when he was fired after three seasons and a 15-22 record at Michigan, smiled and appeared relaxed as he took questions.

Among them: How much of a role did questions about the NCAA investigation that led to five major violations play in the hiring process? The violations stemmed from quality control staff members acting as coaches and players practicing more than the maximum allowed.

Rodriguez said NCAA questions came up frequently in discussions with Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne and other Arizona officials.

"A lot of his questions were in that regard," Rodriguez said. "Tell me what happened at Michigan Tell me about the NCAA issues. He called people at the NCAA, he called our compliance officer, I believe, at Michigan. He called everybody he had to, to learn about the process."

Rodriguez said he’s already familiar with the compliance office at Arizona.

"There were issues (at Michigan). The issues were fixed, cleaned up, and I assure you and I assured him there never will be one again," he said. “I’m going to be 100 percent compliant."

Rodriguez has a five-year, $9.55 million deal with Arizona. The university pays $8.05 million and the rest comes from Nike and IMG, The Associated Press reported. Also from the AP: The deal includes incentives — the largest is $150,000 for an appearance in the BCS championship game and he will receive $100,000 for any other BCS bowl game.

Video: Watch Rodriguez's press conference



Fri, Nov 25, 2011 : 1:43 a.m.

Rich is a decent man, he just did nothing right at Michigan. My guess is he learns from all of his missteps in A2 and he truly revives the Arizona program. After all his NCAA problems seem awfully tame when compared to what's going on in Columbus and State College.

Lorain Steelmen

Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 8:24 p.m.

There is no doubt in my mind that Coach Rodriguez, a Michigan man, WILL build an amazing offensive machine at Arizona. The weather is much more forgiving out there, and with the likes of Oregon, he fits into that league well. The fans obviously are much more 'open minded', than they are in AA. The key for Rich will be to a get Jeff Casteel to move out there, from West Virginia, t build a serious defense. If the AD out there gets out his wallet, the combination of a tough defense, and Rich's 'lights out' offense WILL make some noise in the league. Note to Dave Brandon...why not schedule some home and homes, between UM and Arizona, and UM and West Virgina. Turn these rivalries into something positive. And Davie, while you are at it, consider a series with LSU, Tenna, or Florida. Throw in a Texas, or Oklahoma, for kicks. It's time to get serious, and start 'thinking big', rather than palying 'small ball' by fruitin' around, with 'legacy' uniforms. 'Just sayin'....big guy.

Paul Epstein

Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 7:36 p.m.

Best to Rich Rod at AZ. But I can't resist this: Rich Rod reciting the alphabet: A B C E F G H I J K.......(etc)


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

Good luck to Rodriguez. Life always provides an opportunity to learn from mistakes. For his own sake, I hope he makes the most of this one. I wasn't a fan at all of how he handled being the HC here, but it happened, and there's no changing it. Hope he puts together a good program at UofA. It'd be fun to meet up in the Rose Bowl some year.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 6:10 p.m.

are u ready for some football UA fans?you won't get it from Rich Rod.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

UA is starving for a football program that isn't a one season and out. Coach Rodriguze is a very aggressive recruiter. He went after Prior before he chased down Dae'Narr. Rich Rodriguze read through Prior. You can see during the pressor. He was much more prepared, he looked as though he was educated by the AD and accepted by the alumni. unlike here, where he was pinned down by former players and big money. You could also see he learnt a lesson....he may be a High-test offensive minded man. He is watching what a defense will do for you and your full speed O-fence Good luck coach, He'll do good recruiting in land of mixed fruits and NUTS

Lets Get Real

Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.

He Rude Jude, what do you expect? this guy is classless and self-absorbed. He thinks the world revolves around him and takes credit for the current Michigan success. No credit to the coaches who have developed these kids into more than he ever could. I think First Down's observation is spot on: he's found school with low expectations in a warm climate where he can ultimately retire and play golf


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

The more I read about it, the more Arizona and Rodriguez make sense. The fanbase does not have the kind of expectations the Michigan fanbase has, and will give him years to get his system in place, and I'm guessing Arizona's AD will provide the funds to hire Jeff Casteel, if he wants to leave Morgantown, unlike Bill Martin. It also seems Rodriguez learned his lesson about adopting school tradition, &quot;I will not just coach Arizona football. I will live it.&quot; He didn't express such an attitude when he was hired at Michigan. He is situated between the fertile recruiting of California and Texas and will benefit with great recruiting. In the end, his success at Arizona, once again, will be determined by the quality of the defense, which gave up an average of nearly 40 points to the Big Ten last year, not by his patented offense. I wish him luck and hope he gives plenty of trouble to Lane Kiffin and USC. I thought this was an interesting statement (from the ESPN article linked below). Rodriguez on Michigan: &quot;It's frustrating to watch them because they are doing so well. Those are all of my guys. But I'm proud of them because they are doing so well.&quot; <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

This belongs in the Sports section. Or, maybe the gossip column?


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 1:47 p.m.

I thought this was interesting. Rodriguez on Michigan: &quot;It's frustrating to watch them because they are doing so well. Those are all of my guys. But I'm proud of them because they are doing so well.&quot; <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Lac Court Orilles

Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 1:47 p.m.

While Republican fat cats are cutting teacher pay and benefits, a person who was fired for poor performance gets a 9 million dollar a year job to coach football. If we rewarded teachers like we do football coaches our students would out perform all others on the planet. How many more new jobs will Rich Rod's 9 million dollar salary create?


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 1:01 p.m.

Rodriguez's sensitivity level is almost totally missing. He couldn't understand the rivalry games that are so important to Michigan fans. The idea about DEFENSE never truly entered his mind as his team's D played worse than the average MAC team. He almost killed Denard Robinson by using him as a runner too often. And when he left, he gave away all his Michigan clothes so he'd be sure NOT to have any precious memories of his time spent here. Arizona is over paying him, and the length of contract they gave is obscene in comparison to his ability to lead and inspire. I doubt true success will come to Arizona football, as its new head coach lacks honest commitment and a desire to win. He's strickly a southern accent speaking AW SHUCKS kind of guy.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 12:39 p.m.

I think Arizona made a great hire. If Rich hires truly the best DC out there (not just a buddy), Arizona will be competing for Pac-12 and possibly national championships.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Nov 24, 2011 : 2:19 p.m.

Zing, Blu!! GN&amp;GL

Blu n Tpa

Thu, Nov 24, 2011 : 1:21 p.m.

So you finally admit that the WCiMFH was more interested in hiring a &quot;buddy&quot; than qualified coaches, like a DC or special teams' coach. What took you so long?


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 10:14 a.m.

He needs to find a legitimate defensive coordinator to join his staff. Also, he needs to learn to motivate from many platforms as a head coach. He needs to remember its about the players not him.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 12:12 p.m.

&quot;He needs to remember its about the players not him.&quot; He can't remember what he never learned...

Terry Star21

Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 1:46 a.m.

So the announcement was part football rally/part news conference - supporting the football team and coach for their next game, while introducing a new coach ? Seriously ? &quot;There were some issues (at Michigan)...that were cleaned up&quot;. I missed where he said 'who caused the issues', 'who is going to pay for the issues&quot; and 'who is cleaning up those issues ? Seriously.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 1:02 a.m.

All I can say is that I can not see Rich Rod being super sucessful in the PAC 12 and when the regular season ends UCLA will fire Rick &quot;Eddie Haskell&quot; Neuheisel and will replace him with Chris Peterson of Boise State who has a out clause in his contract for the UCLA head coaching job and that makes the PAC 12 even stronger with the Bruins being a concensus Top 25 team that were used too and I really can't see Arizona and Rich Rod being able to compete against USC, Oregon, UCLA, Washington and Stanford and making Arizona a PAC 12 power let alone a national power. That all being said I can't wait to see how this all pans out and what his first excuse will be and how many of his former terrible assistant coaches join his staff and if he will realize that you have to play defense even in the PAC 12. Any guesses people who he will try to get as his defensive cordinator? GO BLUE!!! BEAT OHIO!!!


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 12:44 p.m.

Don - I don't think USC is nearly the program under Kiffin as it was under Carroll. I understand they're doing well this season but I have a feeling the bottom will fall out when Barkley leaves. 8-4 seasons under Kiffin will be the norm. Stanford will also take a step backwards after Luck leaves. The Harbaugh magic will wear off over time. The best team in the Pac-12 year in and year out will be Oregon. I don't see that changing anytime soon.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 6:19 a.m.

Good stuff, Don. Sure will be an interesting thing to watch from afar or in your case, anear. (What is our fascination???)


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 4:49 a.m.

@DonAZ yeah I agree with that whole assesment on the name recognition with Rich Rodriguez and I know that Wildcat hoops is church down in Arizona and I'm pretty sure that Rich Rodriguez will never leave a legacy down there in the same way Lute Olson has. Again thanks for the insight and enjoy your Thanksgiving and GO BLUE!!!


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 4:33 a.m.

@Jaysham -- first, as I said in a post in some other article ... my ties to the U of A football community are not all that strong. I observe from a distance. I'm a freakin' Meeeeeechigan nutcase in the desert southwest. U of A football is not my main thing. :-) That said ... here's my sense: o First, the football fan base is nowhere near as energetic as the basketball fan base. Football is a social activity; basketball is a religion. Tickets to Wildcat B-Ball are scarce ... season tickets to Wildcat football can be had for $100. o Second, those who have at least some interest in Arizona football are a weary lot. It's been a long time since this team was truly good as opposed to merely better than average. Expectations do not run super-high. They'd be happy with 8-4 year after year I think. o From reading some local reports and watching the local news, the Rich Rodriguez hiring is seen as securing a name-recognition coach at a time when a lot of up-and-coming coaches probably wouldn't consider Arizona. The name &quot;Rich Rodriguez&quot; carries some buzz and that's an exciting thing for U of A football. o I think the U of A fanbase has the same kind of hopeful expectation of Rodriguez transforming U of A football that many Michigan fans had in 2008. Suffering through a 3-9 season could only be tolerated at Michigan if there was an expectation of better to come. I think U of A faithful have a similar expectation, but with a lower set of expectations about timeline for improvement and results. o My general sense is Rodriguez will field nice 8-4 and occasional 9-3 teams. I think he'll have annual trouble with USC and Oregon if he plays them. I think you're correct that with Oregon the established big dog in the conference for spread football, Rodriguez is going to find himelf in a position he's never been in before -- having to compete with someone who does the speed/spread thing better than him.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 4:31 a.m.

OK you answered my question about the Arizona scene DonAZ thanks for the insight.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 4:10 a.m.

@DonAZ my uncle is a graduate of UCLA and lives in Venice and even though the Bruins are 5-3 in the conference the fanbase and alumni are really fed up with his act and if the Bruins lose to USC this weekend and go 6-6 then say see ya Ricky and hello Peterson and the Bruins will make the conference a little bit harder and yes he is a California native. Also how do people in Arizona feel about the hire of Rich Rod down there? You would have the best insight by first hand experience right? Like aarox said the Nike perks and the facilties in Eugene are quite impressive and that is something that will be a hard sell for Rich Rod over Oregon but he could say hey the weather is great here year around compared to Eugene but then again if its a California kid if you can stay in state with good schools like USC and UCLA then why bother with Arizona unless you want out of California but interesting to see how this will all unfold.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 4:06 a.m.

@heartbreakM -- it might surprise you to know I don't watch much Pac-12 football either. I'm watching east coast college football starting at 10:00am and by the time the west coast night games are one I'm kinda footballed out. But I did watch Oregon vs. USC ... the thing that struck me about Oregon is (a) they're fast, (b) their offense has a pretty balanced attack, and (c) they have a pretty good defense. They lost to USC because (a) Matt Barkley was on fire, and (b) their defensive line was able to get penetration into Oregon's backfield and disrupt Darron Thomas. Chip Kelly runs a stout program there ... he gets warm weather talent to come north. Scanning ESPN's recruiting database for Oregon, he seems to pull well from Oregon, California and Texas ... but has a wider overall reach. My sense is Eugene, OR is football crazy. Craaaazy. Ever see ESPN College Gameday when they're in Eugene? It's a madhouse. I would say that U of A in the Pac-12 equates roughly to Northwestern or maybe Purdue in the Big 10. Not top shelf ... not bottom dweller.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 3:25 a.m.

Edward, congrats on beating the rest of us to the punch. Of course it wasn't RR's fault.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 2:57 a.m.

Don: I don't get to watch too much pac 10/12 football, but like watching Oregon play. Does that team play as poor fundamentally as the Michigan teams of the last 3 years? From what I've seen, it doesn't and that gives Kelly a decided advantage. Also, Oregon is a great football environment, unlike Tucson, right? That and the Nike money make it very attractive.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 2:50 a.m.

Really? Neuheisel is 5-3 in conference and currently leading the Pac-12 South. I know Neuheisel was in some hot water earlier, but is that still the case? With Kellen Moore graduating after this season it's not surprising Peterson would make his move now. His stock has been up for several years now ... but I didn't realize UCLA was part of his hoped-for plans. Some interesting question marks in the Pac-12: Q - Has Kiffin found his footing for returning USC to prominence? Q - Can Stanford survive the departure of Andrew Luck? Q - If Peterson goes to UCLA, can he lift that program to compete with USC? If the answer to all three is &quot;Yes,&quot; then Rodriguez at U of A will have a problem recruiting California talent. But if not, then Rodriguez can, if he plays his cards right, establish a foothold in CA. The other big question mark is how spread-oriented talent will view the bi-polar axis of Kelly / Rodriguez in the Pac-12. Does Kelly stay top dog with Rodriguez fighting for scraps? Or do they establish a kind of grudging parity? This is why I love college football.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 2:19 a.m.

Or it will be Morgan Trent's fault or maybe the Detroit Free Press too.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 1:32 a.m.

When he fails at Arizona, it will be Lloyd Carr's fault. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 12:52 a.m.

Now, most people here know that I have never been in the former coach's camp and never thought he should be here. That colors most things I think and type but I have occasionally given credit, for example the development of denard last year in games 1-8. I notice the same type of thing at today's press conference as he did at Michigan, not that I should care (but I can't help it). Unlike Hoke who came in with a definite plan, with purpose, with emotion and with passion, the new AZ coach appears to just try to say the right things, demonstrates no real plan, and essentially hopes that they will get noticed. A telling statement: &quot;why not Arizona?&quot;. Just can't imagine Hoke saying something like that. Rather, we got ,this is Michigan for gosh sakes. If we don't win the big ten championship, we failed the kids.&quot;. He even said something like that this week. That is a coach. Ro-riguez is an offensive coordinator at best.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 4:42 a.m.

Hoke is proving to be quite adept at the fine balance of expecting the most out of his team and moving past instances where that expectation is not met. Hoke at each of his press conferences plainly starts his explanations for shortcomings on coaching first, and execution second.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 2:54 a.m.

Uh, Hoke did mention it this week and apologized for it, actually.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 2:49 a.m.

Obviously, Hoke failed the kids. There isn't any B10 championship. Why isn't he apologizing for his failure? The fans have a loser mentality I guess.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 12:07 a.m.

there's currently a great article on SI dot com about this very topic.... <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 12:16 a.m.

The last paragraph of that story is the key. Top talent is *not* going to come knocking at his door. Arizona simply does not have the program reputation for that. So he's going to have to find 3-star diamonds in the rough and develop them.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 11:59 p.m.

DonAZ, What is the general reaction over there about Mr Rodriguez?


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 4:39 a.m.

@rightmind250 - &quot;Sounds kind of like Ann Arbor to me&quot; I know you meant that sarcastically. I'll treat it as a serious observation. Not even close. First, Tucson is a whole lot bigger and more spread out than Ann Arbor. The Tucson metropolitan area is about a million in size and goes on for miles and miles. One thing Arizona has is a whole lot of open nothing. The University is located to the east of downtown. Go even a few miles north and it's like being in a completely different city ... the University's presence fades into nothingness. Second, I've been in Ann Arbor for football Saturdays and I've been here in Tucson for football Saturdays. In Ann Arbor it's plainly obvious it's a game day. In Tucson it's quite easy to miss the fact there's a home game. So no ... not like Ann Arbor at all.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 2:52 a.m.

Sounds kind of like Ann Arbor to me.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 1:30 a.m.

Thanks DonAZ, What you have said does quite makes sense to me. GO BLUE!


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 12:12 a.m.

It's a bit hard for me to say ... I'm not wired into any of the U of A football networks around here. But that said, some stories on the web coming out of Tucson seem to have the same kind of expectant hope a lot of us had with Rodriguez coming to Michigan -- he produced good teams at WVU, so let's hope he does the same here! In general the sense I get is that U of A landed a nice name for their program. It's not an elite football program, nationally or even in the Pac-12. Getting an Urban Meyer or NIck Saban simply wasn't going to happen. Getting a name-recognition coach like Rich Rodriguez is about as good as they were going to get. So in general, I think people here are cautiously optimistic the same kind of success he had at WVU in 2005-2007 can be translated here. But I don't detect any spontaneous street parades in celebration. For those who think of college football from midwestern or southern perspective, it's just different here. Small college town that transforms on a crisp Saturday for tailgating just isn't what happens. Games are at night because otherwise it'd be simply too hot to sit in the stands. There's almost no buzz around town except right near the university. They've been average to below-average for so long there's simply no community memory of once-greatness. So in that context this hire is making news ... it's a recognized name above what most expected.

1st Down

Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 11:48 p.m.

This is Rich Rods 401K. Go somewhere warm where expectations are low. Moderately compete for maybe 10 years if lucky...retire and play golf.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 12:07 a.m.

I wish I could get a gig like that!


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : midnight

Or invent a football video game where the defensive concept is strictly non-existent TiM


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 11:47 p.m.

This new Head Coaching job has expectations, both ways. What will Rich Rod bring with him to U-AZ? His stock is down because of the MIchigan experience. U-AZ had to take the chance or roll the dice. If Rich Rod read John U Bacon's book; &quot;Three and Out, the title has meaning. I'd like to see if his offense does go three and out quite often like he did at Michigan. I'd be curious to see if his defensive scheme will stay on the field and let teams convert on 3rd down, like he did at Michigan. In three years, will he bring U-AZ to the upper tieir of the Pac-12? The football program there does not much of a winning tradition. This is an overall better fit for him with less pressure but he must rebuild this time. At least he probably will not make it worse, like he did at Michigan It is important that Rich Rod get off to a good start in these initial few weeks, like Brady Hoke did when he first arrived. This sets the tone. Overall, best wishes to Rich Rod. I was really pulling for him a year ago when Michigan was 7 and 3 going into the last two regular season games. I was hoping for a split but we know what happened. If it seems like I really soured on him, my hopes were dashed in the Gator Bowl.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 11:51 p.m.

Didn't he have to rebuild at Michigan too? I don't remember too many starters coming back for his team.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 11:40 p.m.

In related news, I had some deep dish pizza and a beer across the street from the U of A campus while this took place.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 6:23 p.m.

Wish I coulda joined you, Don! Sounds fun.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 1:31 p.m.

Just as soon as you feel you'll never have to hear about this guy again...then he moves in nextdoor. Sorry, Don.

Kyle Meinke

Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 2:54 a.m.

Oops, nevermind. I see the thread below. Thanks for your insights!

Kyle Meinke

Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 2:53 a.m.

Don, what's the scene like down there? How have people responded to the hire?


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 10:44 p.m.

I hope he does well at Arizona. It's not had the strongest football program over the years, so it will be a bit of a challenge. If he does a better job selecting his defensive coordinator, I think he will do pretty well. It's a very competitive conference though. I would guess though he won't be as nearly scrutinized by the media there as he was here. That will help a lot with the stress levels.