Arizona has tabbed former Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin as its football coach.
Sumlin is expected to sign a five-year contract, pending approval by the Arizona Board of Regents. An introductory news conference is scheduled for Tuesday.
He replaces Rich Rodriguez, who was fired Jan. 2 amid sexual harassment allegations.
“This is a tremendous day for Arizona Football and I am thrilled to welcome Kevin to our family,” Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke said in a statement Sunday night. “He is a proven winner who will have an immediate impact on not only our football program, but also on our department and University. An accomplished coach and an excellent recruiter, Kevin shares our vision and values and fits with who we are and who we want to be.”
Sumlin was fired after six seasons at Texas A&M in November and had reportedly been in the mix for numerous jobs, including Arizona rival Arizona State. The Sun Devils hired former NFL coach and ESPN analyst Herm Edwards.
The Aggies went 51-26 and went to a bowl game every season under Sumlin, but were 25-23 in SEC play and never matched his first season in College Station, when they were 11-2 with Heisman Trophy quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Texas A&M hired former Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher to replace Sumlin.
A former linebacker at Purdue, Sumlin also spent four years at Houston, going 35-17, including 12-1 his final season in 2011.
The 53-year-old Sumlin is known as an adept recruiter and inherits a talented roster, led by quarterback Khalil Tate, who became a breakout star after replacing injured starter Brandon Dawkins the fifth game of the season.
Sumlin is expected to retain defensive coordinator Marcel Yates and add Noel Mazzone as offensive coordinator.
Mazzone was Sumlin’s offensive coordinator at Texas A&M the past two seasons. Yates was Arizona’s offensive coordinator last season and spent two years working with Sumlin at Texas A&M before becoming defensive coordinator at Boise State.
“I am humbled and honored to join the Arizona Family,” Sumlin said in a statement. “With a strong foundation already in place, we will work quickly to assemble an elite coaching staff and immediately begin the work of establishing our culture, recruiting future Wildcats, and connecting with Wildcats past and present. We will win championships. We will graduate our players and they will contribute to the University in many ways while they are here. We will represent Arizona with class and pride.
Arizona finished 7-6 in Rodriguez’s sixth season in Tucson, losing five of its final six seasons. The Wildcats lost 38-35 to Purdue in the Holiday Bowl.
Arizona fired Rodriguez after a notice of claim was filed with the state attorney general’s office alleging he ran a hostile workplace. The claim filed by Rodriguez’s former assistant alleged the coach fondled himself in front of her and he forced her to cover up an extramarital affair with another woman. Rodriguez acknowledged the affair, but denied the allegations.
“Congratulations to the University of Arizona and Coach Kevin Sumlin,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “I have sure he will have great success with the most remarkable group of student-athletes in the country. We have been incredibly blessed to be a part of the Wildcat family and Tucson Community for over six years and are fortunate that our children Rhett and Raquel are continuing their education at UofA. Welcome Coach Sumlin.”
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