“The frustrating part about it is we didn’t get a chance to finish the job.”
Those were the words of Rich Rodriguez after he was fired at Michigan three years ago. With rumors swirling that the University of Louisville is targeting Arizona’s current head coach, Wildcat fans hope RichRod has similar views about his unfinished business in Tucson.
Now, at this point we have nothing more than internet rumors saying Rodriguez is at the top of Louisville’s wish list after the Cardinals lost their coach to Texas. There are no public reports that U of L athletic director Tom Jurich has contacted RichRod or that Rodriguez has met with anyone. But the “Will he or won’t he” talk has begun and Wildcat Universe has to deal with it.
It was only a matter of time. I figured it would happen when RichRod got Arizona to nine or more wins (next year?) but I guess back to back 8-5 seasons have shown enough people that Rodriguez still has his fastball.
Just like Sean Miller will be mentioned every time a name-brand east coast basketball job opens up, RichRod will be listed as a candidate for jobs every year he keeps the Wildcat program moving in its present direction. That’s the reality when you have a coach who wins and there are athletic departments out there hungry for wins.
But this year, for this job? The timing doesn’t make sense for Rodriguez.
It was just 24 months ago that he moved his family and the families of his long-time assistant coaches all the way across the country. They’ve spent those two years laying the foundation that has allowed them to start landing elite-level recruits like Jalen Tabor and Jordan Poland just four days ago.
Does Rodriguez want to start over again? Does he want to ask his staff to get out the moving boxes for the third time in four years? The next two or three seasons are when RichRod should see the fruits of his labor at Arizona. He should stick around to enjoy the fruit.
Michigan didn’t let him finish the job. Rodriguez was shown the door after just three seasons even though his win total improved each year. It had to be painful to watch his players win 11 games and the Sugar Bowl without him the following season.
RichRod is close to getting back to that level, back where he was when he left West Virginia and where he wasn’t allowed to take the Wolverines. He has a lot of talent returning for 2014 and some serious recruiting momentum.
I’m not going to pretend the rest of the country views Tucson and the UA the way I do. I know there are plenty of football programs with more resources. Louisville may well be one of them.
Even if the Cardinals hire someone else or Rodriguez says he was never contacted or RitaRod isn’t seen house hunting with Rick Pitino‘s wife, bookmark this link because we’re probably going through this again next year. And the year after that.
If I had to bet the hacienda I’d say Rich Rodriguez doesn’t end up retiring in Tucson. If he does what he came here to do and decides to move on, I will wish him well. But now is not the time.
Don’t give up on Arizona. Finish the job.
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