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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Striking it Rich

Kyle Robertson
Michigan Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez looks towards the score board during the final seconds of their game against Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday, November 27, 2010. Ohio State won, 37-7. (Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch/MCT)

Former Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez was named Arizona’s head football coach by Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne on Monday night.

Byrne broke the news by tweeting a photo of himself, Rodriguez and Rodriguez’s family wearing Arizona hats at 5:37 p.m. The New York Times reported that Byrne was in Michigan Monday night to meet with Rodriguez.

Rodriguez went 15-22 in three seasons at Michigan after spending seven years at West Virginia, where he compiled a 60-26 record and led the Mountaineers to two BCS bowl berths, three top-12 finishes and at least a share of four Big East conference championships.

The 48-year-old coach went 6-18 in Big Ten Conference play and reached just one bowl game, the 2010 Gator Bowl, with the Wolverines. Rodriguez has the lowest winning percentage (.405) of any football coach in Michigan’s history and never beat either of the school’s two main rivals, Ohio State and Michigan State.

Under Rodriguez, West Virginia was within one game of reaching the 2008 BCS National Championship Game, but lost to another one of its rivals, Pittsburgh, in the Backyard Brawl in Rodriguez’s last game at the school.

Rodriguez spent the 2011 season working as an analyst for CBS Sports, and it’s likely that most, if not all, of Arizona’s current coaching staff won’t be retained.

“Expect RichRod to be rejoined at Arizona by many of his former staffers from WVU and Michigan … The Pac-12 just got tougher,” CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman tweeted.

Rodriguez’s tenure at Michigan didn’t come without controversy. The school self-imposed two years of probation and cut into practice time after the NCAA found five potentially major rules violations, all related to accusations that the program was exceeding NCAA limits on off-season training and practice time. Michigan acknowledged that it committed four of the five alleged violations.

Several players transferred away from the Michigan program following the hiring of Rodriguez. Guard Justin Boren, who transferred to rival Ohio State, told ESPN in 2006 that offensive behavior and a “lack of family values” from the coaching staff led to his transfer.

Rodriguez was one of the first coaches to implement the spread-option offense that’s becoming increasingly popular in college football. Rodriguez’s 2010 Michigan team — his final season at the school — set a number of offensive records while being led by speedy quarterback Denard Robinson.

Arizona fired former coach Mike Stoops last month after a 37-27 loss to then-winless Oregon State. Stoops went 41-50 in seven-plus seasons at Arizona and took the Wildcats to three consecutive bowl games for just the second time in school history.

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