The Arizona Wildcats will start spring drills Wednesday without a full complement of coaches.
Inside receivers coach Mike Smith has left the program to pursue a possible opening at Kansas State. He told UA coach Mike Stoops of his decision Monday; his job was posted by athletic department officials early this morning.
"Mike Stoops gave me his blessing," Smith told the Star today. "I value Mike's friendship and our relationship on and off the field.
"It was a tough decision for me."
Should Smith, 38, land at Kansas State - officials in Manhattan, Kan. have not announced any changes - he would become the second UA coach to join coach Bill Snyder's staff in the last month. Associate head coach Dana Dimel left the staff Feb. 10 for a similar position at K-State. Within weeks of Dimel's arrival, KSU offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig left for Cal.
Ludwig's departure means Snyder could conceivably promote Dimel or another assistant to offensive coordinator to make room for Smith. Smith coached running backs at Kansas State from 1995-2005. Smith spent a year at Rice before coming to the UA; he coached running backs his first year. Like Dimel, Smith has good reason to return to Kansas: His daughters, Kylie and Kenzie, live in the Manhattan area.
Arizona must keep the job posted for 10 business days before hiring a new coach.