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: