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Matt Caponi wasn't getting the answer he wanted from Rich Rodriguez, but he also wasn't getting a no.

Every time the graduate assistant asked the Arizona Wildcats' head coach if he had a shot to be the program's new safeties coach, Rodriguez wouldn't tip his hand.

"I was hearing a lot of different things throughout the process," Caponi said. "I asked him if I would be considered for the job and he didn't tell me no. He told me I had a chance to be considered."

But that was a few weeks before national signing day, and Rodriguez's focus was on locking up his recruiting class.

On Friday, Rodriguez made it official: Caponi, 30, is the Wildcats' new safeties coach. He replaces Tony Gibson, who left the program last month to return to West Virginia.

Caponi was hired after putting together a report that highlighted his philosophies in both coaching and recruiting.

Caponi worked with Rodriguez assistants Calvin McGee and Tony Dews at Pittsburgh in 2011 and was the defensive coordinator for Division III Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania for three seasons.

He began his coaching career at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where he was a standout safety. In his four years with the Purple Raiders, the school won three NCAA Division III national championships and went 55-1.

But the only game he lost was the last one he played - a 24-6 setback to St. John's (Minn.) in the 2003 national championship game.

"Going back to that game we lost, it was from that point I knew this is what I wanted to do," Caponi said.

Caponi is the third new addition to the Wildcats coaching staff this offseason and the second to be promoted from within.

Charlie Ragle was promoted from assistant director of operations to tight ends coach and special teams coordinator after Spencer Leftwich left for UTEP.

Jim Michalczik was hired as the offensive line coach last month. He replaces Robert Anae, who was hired as BYU's offensive coordinator.

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk.