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UA football: Rodriguez hires 3 assistants

2011-12-05T11:18:00Z 2011-12-05T14:23:58Z UA football: Rodriguez hires 3 assistants Arizona Daily Star

With college football's regular season over and $2 million to spend, Arizona Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez is moving quickly to assemble a staff.

Today, he landed three important pieces.

Former Pittsburgh assistants Calvin Magee, Tony Gibson and Tony Dews have all accepted job offers with the UA and will start immediately, Rodriguez told the Star this morning.

Magee will serve as Arizona's offensive coordinator and running backs coach. Gibson will coach the secondary, and Dews will coach wide receivers.

Rodriguez said all three coaches are "good recruiters, good coaches, good people and a good fit for our program." They'll arrive in Tucson Wednesday and spend the weekend here before hitting the road to recruit.

Additionally, Rodriguez said recruiting coordinator Dave Emerick has left to join Mike Leach's staff at Washington State. Emerick served as Leach's operations director and "chief of staff" when both were at Texas Tech.

Magee, Gibson and Dews all have decades-long relationships with Rodriguez, who was hired Nov. 21 to turn around a program that went 4-8 this season.

The 39-year-old Gibson played defensive back for Rodriguez at tiny Glenville (W. Va.) State and later coached with him there. Gibson coached the secondary at West Virginia from 2001-07, and added the titles of associate head coach and special teams coordinator when he moved to Michigan in 2008.

He made $231,500 in 2010, his final season with the Wolverines.

Dews, 38, has coached tight ends, wide receivers, linebackers and special teams in stops at Michigan, West Virginia, Central Michigan, UNLV and Holy Cross. He made $182,500 at Michigan in 2010 before joining Graham at Pitt.

Magee, 48, was Michigan's offensive coordinator from 2008-10 after spending six seasons at West Virginia, three as the Mountaineers' offensive coordinator. He was named the 2007 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Assistant Coach of the Year.

Magee played four seasons (1985-88) for the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers before going into coaching.

The last time he coached under Rodriguez, Magee made $281,600.

Rodriguez said this morning that his new staff will come together quickly. He hopes to have a strength and conditioning coach hired by Wednesday, and will try to hire a defensive coordinator by the end of the week.

Rodriguez said he's talked to a few candidates for the coordinator's job, which will be the highest-paying of any job on staff. Jeff Casteel, West Virginia's defensive coordinator and the highest-paid assistant in the Big East, is rumored to be one of his favorites. But Rodriguez said he's talked to candidates that he's worked with before and outsiders.

"That's a big hire for me, obviously, defensive coordinator," Rodriguez said. "I hope I get the best guy not only for where we're at but the league we're playing in."

Today's hires were predicted, if not expected.

Magee, Dews and Gibson all quit their jobs at Pitt on Sunday to, according to a release issued by the Panthers' athletic department, pursue "other job opportunities effective immediately."

"They didn't leave to pursue ‘job opportunities,'" Rodriguez said with a chuckle. "They're coming to Arizona."

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