For the second time in as many months, the Arizona Wildcats have hired a football coach without breaking the bank.

Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel will make $425,000 annually at the UA with bonuses for making a bowl game, less than he was set to make at West Virginia in 2012. Casteel was paid $400,000 at the school last season, when the Mountaineers defeated Clemson in the Orange Bowl. He was due for a $50,000 raise in 2012, 2013 and 2014 as part of a multi-year deal.

Arizona paid defensive coordinator Tim Kish $300,000 in 2011; he received a $100,000 bonus when he agreed to serve as interim head coach the final six games of the season. 

The UA went “a little over” its hiring budget of $2 million for assistants, athletic director Greg Byrne said, but the extra money was approved by department administrators.

Casteel spent 11 seasons at West Virginia, six of them under Rodriguez. The defensive coordinator brings a unique 3-3-5 “odd stack” defense to Tucson. 

Per university policy, — and the rest of Rich Rodriguez's assistants — are contracted on a year-to-year basis.

Casteel spent 11 seasons at West Virginia, seven of them under Rodriguez. The defensive coordinator brings a unique 3-3-5 "odd stack" defense to Tucson.

"I thought it was time for another challenge, and I just felt that it was an opportunity to get back with Rich and (offensive coordinator) Calvin Magee and these guys. We've been together or a good while," he said. "I thought the opportunity to leave West Virginia, it was the right time to do it and to embark on another challenge. That's what I look at the University of Arizona and this league, as another challenge. We're looking forward to it."

Casteel's hire is another coup for athletic director Byrne, who is — given the market for coaches in the new, richer Pac-12 Conference — becoming adept at negotiating university friendly contracts. Rodriguez was given a 5-year, $9.55 million contract in November, a month before Arizona State and UCLA hired Todd Graham and Jim Mora, respectively, for more money.


The sports editor of the Arizona Daily Star.