There are several challenges that come with the position given the current state of the program, and perhaps no one knows those ins and outs better than a man who lived it – former Wildcat head coach Rich Rodriguez.
With a winning record and multiple bowl game appearances under his belt at Arizona, he joined the Brad Cesmat Show on Monday to address the situation down south, and what it will take for things to get back on track in his eyes.
“You have to re-energize the fan base and have an exciting style of football. I think you need a staff that gets the interest back in the community,” Rodriguez said. “…You got to work like crazy not only on recruiting, which is obviously the life blood, but on the transfer portal and making sure your good players don’t get in it and start from scratch. It’s going to be more work, particularly if someone comes in and doesn’t know the problems that they have and can fix the issues that they have. It’s going to take a couple years to rebuild that.”
Out of coaching for this year, Rodriguez has been working on his Hard Edge Football Podcast, sharing his knowledge and expertise of the game based on his stops in college football.
Despite the media work, he also mentioned on Monday’s show that he’d love to get back into coaching whenever the opportunity presents itself, whether that’s in Tucson or elsewhere.
“I want to be a head coach again,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve always said this – people talk about coaches with experience and say you don’t want to bring back an older guy. But with 30 years of experience, it’s a true 30 years. I’m a better person and better coach than I was two years ago, five years ago. Coaches always say I’ve got 20 something year of experience, but all they did was the same thing every year and didn’t learn and grow, they get one year of experience repeated 20 times. I like to think my 30 years, I’ve gotten better every year.”
Rodriguez even noted that he’d love to throw in his hat into the Arizona coaching vacancy, but that it’s a decision not left up to him.
He still resides in the Tucson area, with his son, Rhett, currently on the roster with the Wildcats. Ultimately, the university and athletic administration has an uphill battle ahead, but Rodriguez feels it’s not impossible to get the train back on the tracks after a brutal three years under Sumlin.
“I think their problems are fixable, but it’s not going to be an overnight thing,” Rodriguez said. “But it’s going to take longer if they don’t get someone who doesn’t understand Tucson, U of A, and the state of Arizona.”