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Greg Byrne: Rich Rodriguez is the new Arizona football coach

Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne (second from right) tweeted this photo with new Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez and his family.

As had been reported a few hours earlier, Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne did tweet the news tonight: Former Michigan and West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez is the new head football coach of the Wildcats.

Rodriguez will be introduced in Tucson at noon in a news conference at McKale Center. The event is open to the public.

The reports of Rodriguez’s hiring seemed to begin from FootballScoop.com, which posted: “We hear the new head coach will be announced tonight by AD Greg Byrne on Twitter (@Greg_Byrne)…multiple sources have confirmed to us that Rich Rod will be named the new head coach.”

Following that, ESPN’s Joe Schad, CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman and the AP’s Ralph Russo also indicated on Twitter that Arizona would hire Rodriguez.

FootballRumorMill.com reported via Twitter that apparently, there were “complications” in discussions with former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti. A source told TucsonCitizen.com that Bellotti turned down an offer from Arizona.

Rodriguez, 48, was 60-26 in seven seasons at West Virginia, from 2001 to 2007, winning four Big East titles.

Rich Rodriguez was let go after three seasons at Michigan. Photo by Leon Halip-US PRESSWIRE

He failed to duplicate that success at Michigan as he tried to implement his fast-paced read-option style of offense. Rodriguez was 15-22 in three seasons with the Wolverines before being fired after last season, in a case of he just might have been the wrong guy at the wrong time.

While he was at Michigan, the program was placed on three years of probation for violations of practice and training regulations.

His departure from West Virginia was messy, as the school sued to collect on his $4 million buyout in his contract. The suit ended up being settled.

Rodriguez has the right quarterback to make his offense work right away — athletic senior-to-be Matt Scott, who will be able to finish out his redshirt season Saturday against Louisiana in Arizona Stadium.

Interesting to note that current UA quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo was on the same staff as Rodriguez at Tulane under head coach Tommy Bowden.

Feldman at CBSSports.com reported that Rodriguez is expected to bring in several of his assistants from Michigan and West Virginia.

Arizona announced late this afternoon that, contrary to usual procedures on a Monday, there would be no post-practice interviews for coaches or players.

Arizona has been looking for a replacement for Mike Stoops, who was 41-50 before being fired at midseason. Rodriguez has been an analyst for CBS Sports this season.

Wrote Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com:

Let’s be honest: Both sides needed rejuvenation. The Michigan thing just didn’t work out. Stoops had worn out his welcome. This just made Arizona matter again.

You can believe Rich Rod will attract top quarterbacks. No word on who he’ll get as defensive coordinator, but you can be sure Wildcat football will be exciting again. This is a new era in the Pac-12 and for only team in the old Pac-10 never to play in the Rose Bowl, this is a home run.

–Video: Rich Rodriguez and the pregame speech

–Here is Rodriguez’s bio from Michigan last season.

More to come …

Rodriguez’s head coaching career

Year School Record Bowl/Result
1988 Salem 2-8  
1990 Glenville State 1-7-1  
1991 Glenville State 4-5-1  
1992 Glenville State 6-4  
1993 Glenville State 10-3, WVIAC champion  
1994 Glenville State 8-3, WVIAC champion  
1995 Glenville State 8-2, WVIAC champion  
1996 Glenville State 6-4, WVIAC champion  
2001 West Virginia 3-8, 1-6  
2002 West Virginia 9-4, 6-1 Continental Tire/L, 22-48 (Virginia)
2003 West Virginia 8-5, 6-1 Big East champion Gator Bowl/L, 7-41 (Maryland)
2004 West Virginia 8-4, 4-2 Big East champion Gator Bowl/L, 18-30 (Florida State)
2005 West Virginia 11-1, 6-0 Big East champion Sugar Bowl/W, 38-35 (Georgia)
2006 West Virginia 11-2, 5-2 Gator Bowl/W, 38-35 (Georgia Tech)
2007 West Virginia 10-2, 5-2 Big East champion Fiesta Bowl (Oklahoma)
2008 Michigan 3-9, 2-6  
2009 Michigan 5-7, 1-7  
2010 Michigan 7-6, 3-5 Gator Bowl (Miss. State)
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