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Ex-Arizona football assistant coaches: Where are they now?

Rich Ellerson

Rich Ellerson is one of five former Arizona assistants who are now head coaches on the college level. Photo by Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

The firing of Arizona Wildcats head coach Mike Stoops during last season sent a wave of assistant coaches to various points across the country.

Seven landed new jobs. One — offensive line coach Robert Anae — was rehired by new coach Rich Rodriguez. Another, quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo, is sitting out this season before jumping back into coaching again.

The upshot of it all is that the ranks of former Arizona Wildcats assistant coaches in college or professional football has swelled, by my count, to 53. Stoops is the only former UA head coach still coaching, so the number grows to 54 if you include him.

Since I last updated this list, about this time last year, three former UA assistants retired: Clarence Shelmon (San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator), Steve Axman (Idaho offensive coordinator) and Ron McBride (Weber State, head coach).

Well … check that about McBride. He quickly grew bored with retirement and joined the staff of the Utah Blaze of the Arena Football League this spring. We’ll still count him as active.

Another good story: Jeff Woodruff, the former head coach at Cholla High School who was a UA assistant in 1998 and 1999, went from assistant head coach at UTEP to the head coach at Oaks Christian High in Westlake Village, Calif. Woodruff is a former Washington assistant and Eastern Michigan head coach.

The list of former Arizona assistants still coaching at the college or pro level dates back to Mike Hankwitz, whose first full-time coaching job came in 1973 at Arizona under Jim Young. Hankwitz, who later served as interim head coach for the Wildcats in 2003 after John Mackovic’s dismissal, is the defensive coordinator at Northwestern.

Five of these ex-UA assistants are head coaches, including Army’s Rich Ellerson, a Salpointe Catholic High School graduate. Former UA offensive coordinator Dino Babers is in the midst of his first head coaching gig, at Eastern Illinois.

Here’s a look at all the former UA assistants and where they are now in coaching, with years at Arizona followed by current occupation:

Duane Akina, 1987-2000
Texas, assistant head coach/defensive backs

Pete Alamar, 1995-1999
Stanford, specials teams coordinator

Alamar is in his first season at Stanford after working at Fresno State under Pat Hill, who was fired after last season.

Chuck Amato, 1980-1981
Akron, associate head coach/defensive coordinator

Back for his 40th year in coaching with head coach Terry Bowden after sitting out the past two seasons.

Bobby April, 1980-1986
Philadelphia Eagles, special teams coordinator

Dino Babers, 1995-2000
Eastern Illinois, head coach

John Baxter, 1990-1991
USC, associate head coach/special teams

Bill Bedenbaugh, 2007-10
West Virginia, offensive line

Gary Bernardi, 1983-1986
San Jose State, offensive line

Jay Boulware, 2001-2003
Auburn, specials teams coordinator/tight ends

Clarence Brooks, 1990-1992
Baltimore Ravens, defensive line

Greg Brown, 2010
Colorado, defensive coordinator/secondary

Mike Canales, 2004-2006
North Texas, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks

Gerald Carr, 1991
Virginia Destroyers (UFL), running backs

Garret Chachere, 2009-2011
Southern Miss, tight ends/special teams coordinator

Bob Davie, 1979
New Mexico, head coach

Back on the sideline after 10 years in the ESPN booth.

Charlie Dickey, 1992-2003
Kansas State, offensive line

Dana Dimel, 2005-09
Kansas State, co-offensive coordinator/running backs/tight ends

Kasey Dunn, 2004-2006
Oklahoma State, receivers

Sonny Dykes, 2007-2009
Louisiana Tech, head coach

Rich Ellerson, 1992-1995; 1997-2000
Army, head coach

Jeff Hammerschmidt, 1993-95; 2008-11
Colorado State, special teams coordinator/running backs

Mike Hankwitz, 1973-1976; 2003
Northwestern, defensive coordinator

Jeff Hecklinski, 2003
Michigan, wide receivers

Josh Heupel, 2005
Oklahoma, co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach

Pat Hill, 1990-1991
Atlanta Falcons, offensive line

Landed in the NFL after being the head coach at Fresno State for 15 years.

Rob Ianello, 1993-2002
Kansas, recruiting coordinator/wide receivers

Reunited with head coach Charlie Weis (they were together at Notre Dame) after being fired after two seasons as the head coach at Akron, where he posted a 2-22 record.

Bobby Kennedy, 2001
Colorado, wide receivers

Tim Kish, 2003-2011
Oklahoma, assistant defensive coordinator/linebackers

Seth Littrell, 2009-2011
Indiana, offensive coordinator

Lawrence Livingston, 2000
Albany State, offensive line

Marty Long, 1996-2003
Northwestern, defensive line

Johnnie Lynn, 1988-1993
Oakland Raiders, defensive backs

Veteran NFL assistant is in his first year with Oakland after being let go by the Philadelphia Eagles after last season.

Larry Mac Duff, 1987-1996, 2001-02
Las Vegas Locomotives (UFL), defensive coordinator/special teams

John Matsko, 1986
Carolina Panthers, offensive line

Ron McBride, 1987-1989
Utah Blaze (Arena), offensive line coach

Dave Nichol, 2008-2011
East Carolina, outside receivers coach

Bob Palcic, 1984-1985
SMU, offensive line

Spent the past four seasons as UCLA’s offensive line coach.

Mose Rison, 2003
Central Michigan, receivers

Joe Robinson, 2004-2007
South Carolina, special teams coordinator/tight ends

Has gone from LSU to North Carolina to South Carolina in the past three years.

Joe Salave’a, 2011
Washington State, defensive line

A member of our All-Pac-12 coaches team (When they played the game)

Rip Scherer, 1989-1990
Colorado, assistant head coach/quarterbacks

Michael Smith, 2007-09
Kansas State, receivers

Richard Smith, 1987
Denver Broncos, linebackers

Steve Spurrier Jr., 2004
South Carolina, co-offensive coordinator/receivers

Mark Stoops, 2004-2009
Florida State, defensive coordinator

Mike Stoops, 2003-2011
Oklahoma, defensive coordinator

Mike Tuiasosopo, 2004-2010
Colorado, defensive line

Ron Turner, 1979-1980
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, quarterbacks

Ryan Walters, 2011
Oklahoma, graduate assistant

Charlie Williams, 2004-2006
Indianapolis Colts, receivers

Was the receivers coach at North Carolina for the past five seasons.

Ted Williams, 1994
Philadelphia Eagles, running backs

Eric Wolford, 2004-2006
Youngstown State, head coach

Third-year head coach led the Penguins to season-opening 31-17 win at Pittsburgh.

Kevin Wolthausen, 1985-1986
Purdue, defensive line

Darrell Wyatt, 2007
Texas, co-recruiting coordinator/wide receivers

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