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Rodriguez waits on Casteel, wants staff settled by end of next week

Jeff Casteel

Jeff Casteel

Arizona Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez had hoped to have his coaching staff in place a few weeks ago. It might take several more days.

Rodriguez, still waiting on the bulk of his defensive coaches — and with no official word from his old pal, West Virginia defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel — told KOLD-TV’s Dave Cooney today there would be no decision on a coordinator until next week.

Later, Rodriguez wrote in a text to TucsonCitizen.com: “I will probably settle the staff by the end of next week.”

Several reports have indicated that Casteel is close to coming to Arizona — or even that it is done — but nothing is official until it’s official. Casteel likely would bring one, perhaps two, defensive assistants with him from West Virginia if he comes.

From Rodriguez’s perspective, he has to move, one way or another, soon. The end of next week sounds like a hard deadline.

Rodriguez wants to have three big recruiting weekends through January, starting with next Friday, and it will hard to make progress without a full staff.

He told Cooney that “I have really been taking my time because I didn’t want to disrupt and talk to anybody extensively until all the bowl games are over, and that last bowl game doesn’t finish until Monday.”

Casteel was with Rodriguez through his entire tenure at West Virginia, from 2001 to 2007, serving as the full-time defensive coordinator for the final five seasons. Casteel, a West Virginia native, nearly joined Rodriguez at Michigan but stayed when new Mountaineers coach Bill Stewart offered him slightly more money and a multi-year contract.

(More background on Casteel here from earlier this week.)

Rodriguez spoke Friday in Scottsdale at a National Football Foundation luncheon, honoring the Arizona Football Coaches Association selections for the All-State Top 25 players and the six division-winning high school coaches.

Below is the video from KOLD’s Cooney. And you can also click on FoxSportsArizona.com as Rodriguez met with Mark McClune, talking about recruiting and the rivalry with ASU, now coached by one of former assistants, Todd Graham.

Also from Cooney: Go to KOLD.com for his interview with Graham.

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