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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona hires Jeff Casteel as defensive coordinator

Janice Biancavilla/Arizona Daily Wildcat Tra’Mayne Bondurant and several other members of the Arizona defense make a tackle against ASU on Nov. 19.

After nearly two months of searching, Arizona’s hunt for a defensive coordinator is over.

The school announced the hiring of former West Virginia D-coordinator Jeff Casteel on Wednesday afternoon.

Casteel worked under Wildcat head coach Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia from 2001 to 2007 and was the full-time defensive coordinator for the final five seasons. Casteel has likely been Rodriguez’s top target since the head coach was hired in November, and will also serve as Arizona’s linebackers coach.

“That’s a big hire for me, obviously, defensive coordinator,” Rodriguez said last month. “I hope I get the best guy, not only for where we’re at but the league we’re playing in.”

Two other coaching hires were also announced Wednesday. Former-WVU cornerbacks coach David Lockwood and defensive ends coach Bill Kirelawich will fill the same positions at Arizona. Former Pittsburgh aide Spencer Leftwich will coach tight ends.

Casteel, one of the leading authorities on the 3-3-5 defense that Rodriguez covets, helped lead the Mountaineers to a 70-33 win over Clemson in last week’s Orange Bowl. He didn’t follow Rodriguez to Michigan from West Virginia after Mountaineer coach Bill Stewart offered him $10,000 more per year and a multi-year contract.

Casteel was the Big East Conference’s highest-paid assistant last season at $400,000, and will be the highest-paid assistant on Arizona’s staff.

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