UA football: New assistants to hit ground recruiting

2011-12-06T00:01:00Z 2014-09-15T10:23:42Z UA football: New assistants to hit ground recruitingRyan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
December 06, 2011 12:01 am  • 

Rich Rodriguez vowed to work quickly to assemble a coaching staff.

Monday, the Arizona Wildcats' first-year coach backed it up.

Former Pittsburgh assistants Calvin Magee, Tony Gibson and Tony Dews have accepted job offers with the UA and will start immediately, Rodriguez said.

Magee will serve as Arizona's associate head coach, offensive coordinator and running backs coach. Gibson will coach the secondary, and Dews will handle the 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 on Wednesday and spend the weekend here before heading out to recruit.

Additionally, Rodriguez said UA 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. Leach offered Emerick "about twice the money and twice the responsibility," Rodriguez said.

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.

Gibson, 39, 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 six programs. He made $182,500 at Michigan in 2010.

Magee, 48, was Michigan's offensive coordinator from 2008-10 after spending six seasons at West Virginia. The last time he coached under Rodriguez, Magee made $281,600.

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

Rodriguez said he's talked to a few candidates for running the defense, which will be the highest-paying assistant's 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 talking both to candidates he's worked with 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."

Arizona's new coordinators will help hire position coaches. Rodriguez said he's still considering a few former Wildcats coaches, though it's unclear which ones would fit. Defensive ends/special teams coach Jeff Hammerschmidt and defensive tackles coach Joe Salave'a will not have their contracts renewed, and quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo will not return.

Arizona's football offices were empty Monday, except for Rodriguez and a few support-staff members, but they'll be filled soon enough.

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."

Pair of Arizona Wildcats QBs transferring

Two Arizona Wildcats quarterbacks have announced plans to transfer, leaving the UA with just one scholarship signal-caller - Matt Scott - heading into spring drills.

Freshman Daxx Garman left the program last week. Junior Tom Savage told coach Rich Rodriguez on Monday he is leaving to be closer to family on the East Coast.

Savage, a transfer from Rutgers University, said in a news release that the decision to leave "is a personal decision about my family and not influenced by Coach Rodriguez or his style of play."

On Twitter, Savage tweeted Monday afternoon that "a cure for cancer needs to be found" but offered no further comment.

Said Rodriguez: "Tom has indicated to us that he wants to transfer closer to home for family reasons. He said it has nothing to do with football, schemes, or the University of Arizona. We certainly wish him and his family the best in the future."

The suddenly-thin Wildcats will likely pursue a junior college quarterback or urge one of their two incoming freshmen, Josh Kern or Nate Sudfeld, to enroll a semester early. Sudfeld, a senior at Modesto (Calif.) Christian School, is on track to graduate this month.

Rodriguez could also turn to several current players. Linebacker Tra'Mayne Bondurant, nickel back Jourdon Grandon and wide receivers Richard Morrison and David Richards all played quarterback in high school. Morrison enrolled at the UA as a quarterback before switching positions.

Savage, 21, was expected to challenge Scott for the starting job this spring, with Garman - who redshirted this fall - backing them up.

Garman's next school will be his fifth in five years. The freshman enrolled at the UA in January after graduating from high school a semester early.

 

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Pac-12 South football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Arizona 7 2 0 0.778 10 3 0 0.769
USC 6 3 0 0.667 8 4 0 0.667
UCLA 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Arizona State 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Utah 5 4 0 0.556 8 4 0 0.667
Colorado 0 9 0 0.000 2 10 0 0.167

Pac-12 North football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Oregon 8 1 0 0.889 12 1 0 0.923
Stanford 5 4 0 0.556 7 5 0 0.583
Washington 4 5 0 0.444 8 5 0 0.615
Cal 3 6 0 0.333 5 7 0 0.417
Washington State 2 7 0 0.222 3 9 0 0.250
Oregon State 2 7 0 0.222 5 7 0 0.417
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