It hasn’t taken RichRod long to move toward the front among UA football coaches.
Photo by Wildcat Universe

When Rich Rodriguez was first hired to coach the Arizona Wildcats he talked about winning championships and asked an inspiring question:

“Why not Arizona?”

The skeptics immediately answered, “Have you seen Arizona’s football history?!”

No one’s saying the UA hasn’t had some tremendous football seasons; it’s just that there haven’t been a lot of them.

Arizona Football: Most Wins in a Season

11998Dick Tomey12100.923
2t1993Dick Tomey10200.833
2t2014Rich Rodriguez10400.714
4t1974Jim Young9200.818
4t1975Jim Young9200.818
4t1986Larry Smith9300.750
7t1937Tex Oliver8200.800
7t1961Jim LaRue8110.850
7t1968Darrell Mudra8300.727
7t1973Jim Young8300.727
7t1985Larry Smith8310.708
7t1989Dick Tomey8400.667
7t1994Dick Tomey8400.667
7t2008Mike Stoops8500.615
7t2009Mike Stoops8500.615
7t2012Rich Rodriguez8500.615
7t2013Rich Rodriguez8500.615

There have been just a handful of years with at least nine Wildcat victories so RichRod already has the sixth-highest single season win total in school history (twice). Improving on that record by one game would put him in the top three.

Granted, teams a play more games now than they used to so here’s a list that gives the old squads their due:

Highest Winning Percentage in a Season

11998Dick Tomey12100.923
21929Pop McKale7100.875
31961Jim LaRue8110.850
41993Dick Tomey10200.833
5t1974Jim Young9200.818
5t1975Jim Young9200.818
71930Pop McKale6110.813
81937Tex Oliver8200.800
9t1935Tex Oliver7200.778
9t1940Miles Casteel7200.778

(Does not include seasons where Arizona played non-college opponents.)

With the current 13+ game schedules Rodriguez would have to go at least 11-3 (.786) to crack the top 10, so that’s a bit more challenging.

Sadly unchallenging however? RichRod is already in the top 10 in career wins at Arizona. After two seasons.

Most Coaching Wins in a Career

RankCoachWinsLossesTies%SeasonsWinning SeasonsYears
1Dick Tomey956440.5951491987-2000
2Pop McKale813260.70616141914-1930
3Larry Smith482830.627761980-1986
4Miles Casteel462630.633871939-1948
5tJim LaRue413720.525831959-1966
5tMike Stoops415000.451832004-2011
7Rich Rodriguez362900.554542013-
8Tex Oliver321140.723551933-1937
9Jim Young311300.705431973-1976
10Warren Woodson262220.540531952-1956
11tBob Weber162600.381401969-1972
11tTony Mason161810.471311977-1979

(Yes, a coach with no winning seasons is tied for 10th on the career wins list. Be thankful for mothers, nurses and Arizona Football fans.)

We in the Wildcat Universe like to stay positive so we titled this post “Rapid Ascent.” The aforementioned skeptic would probably call it “Low Ceiling.” Either way, Rich Rodriguez doesn’t face a lot of competition for greatest season in UA history.

The next step is laying claim to the “best since 1998” title.

– – – – –