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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Last hurrah for Arizona coaching staff

Kevin Brost
Kevin Brost / Arizona Daily Wildcat After the firing of Mike Stoops, season interim coach Tim Kish answers questions and describes his feelings and plans for the remainder of the Arizona Football 2011-2012 season on October 11, 2011.

Most senior days are for the players.

They walk across the field with their parents and are recognized for four years of excellence on and off the field.

Meanwhile the coaching staff congratulates its seniors while having the security of knowing more seasons with its current underclassmen lie ahead.

But not Arizona’s staff.

Although they won’t walk across the field and be honored, Saturday is a momentous occasion for Arizona’s coaches. It’s their last hoorah on the Arizona Stadium sidelines.

With Rich Rodriguez bringing in his own regime for next season, the Wildcats coaches have 60 minutes left in front of ZonaZoo.

This is it. Soon they’ll move their families to a new city, learn a new scheme and build new relationships.

Quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo said “It would be selfish of us to say ‘well it’s my last game.’ It’s really the players’ last game. The majority of them, they’re not going to play anymore and they’ll never play here again. “

While that’s true, the reality is that Arizona fans will soon forget the Wildcats’ current coaching staff and move on to Rodriguez’s contingent. So here’s a final look at Arizona’s staff, from the longest tenured to the shortest.

Name: Tim Kish
Position: Interim head coach/defensive coordinator
Tenure: 8 years

Before taking over as interim head coach Kish was nothing more than a stern defensive coordinator with an Army background.

But when he was given the keys to the car, he proved he’s more than an Xs and Os guy. He managed his players, made football fun again and ultimately led Arizona to a huge win over ASU.

He’s talked constantly about the 2011 season being a life lesson. He understands life beyond football and has been dedicated to doing what’s best for his players. With all that said, what’s one word to describe his feelings on Saturday?

“Joy,” he said.

“I’m happy to be out there with these guys one more time, have an opportunity to be in front of them and lead them one more time,” Kish said.

Kish later got choked up in the press conference, pausing for 10 seconds before continuing with his sentence. It’s been a moving experience for him in his first head coaching gig and he should be remembered for how he led his team in a time of adversity.

Name: Dave Nichol
Position: Outside Receivers
Tenure: 5 years

Nichol has helped shape and recruit one of the top receiving corps in the Pac-12. Between Juron Criner, David Douglas and the great receivers before them, Nichol has an accomplished resume and shouldn’t have trouble finding another job in the industry.

“It’s been a unique deal. Some of the players have said we need to do this for the coaches,” Nichol said. “I told them I’m going to call them, prank call them and stay on their butt because they can be good I think.”

Name: Jeff Hammerschmidt
Position: Special teams/defensive ends
Tenure: 4 years

Hammerschmidt is an Arizona legend for his playing days as a Wildcat and won’t be forgotten in that regard. He also developed NFL defensive ends Brooks Reed and D’Aundre Reed, and two-time Pac-10 sacks leader Ricky Elmore.

Hammerschmidt did take some heat for Arizona’s poor special teams play over the years, but he oozed Arizona tradition and will always be remembered in Tucson.

Name: Seth Littrell
Position: Offensive coordinator
Tenure: 3 years

Littrell did an admirable job taking over the offense from Sonny Dykes. While criticized at times for his lack of variety in play calling, Arizona’s been among the top offenses in the conferences for a reason.

With coaching experience at Arizona, Texas Tech and Kansas, to go along with playing experience at Oklahoma, Littrell is well-credentialed for another big-time gig at a solid college program.

Name: Garret Chachere
Position: Running backs
Tenure: 3 years

Chachere moved from inside receivers to running backs this season, and did an admirable job developing Ka’Deem Carey while guiding veterans like Keola Antolin and Daniel Jenkins.

He even got Taimi Tutogi to be a contributor, which didn’t seem possible a year ago. Chachere most likely won’t return, but with experience at Memphis and Arizona, he should have no trouble finding a new job.

Name: Frank Scelfo
Position: Quarterbacks
Tenure: 2 years

If any coach hangs around, it’s Scelfo. He coached with Rodriguez at Tulane and did an excellent job with Nick Foles and Matt Scott.

Foles called him his favorite coach of all time and Scelfo’s humor and knowledge have been a breath of fresh air for the program. But Scelfo isn’t thinking about where he’ll end up. His mind is on his players.

“It will be a special day,” he said. “I’ll have Nick and Bryson walking across that field. I’m going to miss them, a bunch.”

Name: Ryan Walters
Position: Secondary
Tenure: 2 years
Walters became the youngest assistant coach in the Pac-12 when he was brought on to coach the secondary in the offseason. The 25-year-old is a rising star with credentials as a player at Colorado and a coach with the Wildcats.

He helped get Trevin Wade right and turn in an All-Conference season, while guiding Shaq Richardson to the most interceptions in the Pac-12. Walters will coach secondary somewhere very soon, maybe Colorado, where his mentor and former coach Greg Brown is the defensive coordinator.

Name: Joe Salave’a
Position: Defensive line
Tenure: 1 year

Like Hammerschmidt, Salave’a will also be remembered for his playing days at Arizona, as he shined during the Desert Swarm era.

It was a disappointing year for the Wildcats defensive line, but most of that had to do with lack of personnel, not Salave’a’s coaching. He could be a candidate to stick around given his NFL playing experience and knowledge of Arizona football, but Salave’a will most likely land at a new destination.

Name: Robert Anae
Position: Offensive line
Tenure: 1 year
Anae lived up to his reputation in his first year at Arizona as he developed a completely new offensive line into an above-average unit.

“If I can recommend a coach of the year, Robert Anae has done a fantastic job with those young linemen,” Kish said. “The future of that group is very, very bright. No doubt about it.”

Despite his “phenomenal” work, as Kish put it, Anae will be out of a job due to Rodriguez’s new offensive schemes.

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