Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez promoted Matt Dudek a year ago, giving him the title of general manger and director of player personnel.
No non-head coach at Arizona has ever had such a title and so many over-arching responsibilities.
Dudek touched everything in the UA football operation: roster management, coordination of recruiting efforts, working as the school’s NFL liaison, and taking part in marketing and compliance issues.
Given Dudek’s people skills and work ethic, I suspected it wouldn’t be long until a powerhouse in the SEC or Big Ten wanted him on their staff.
And now it has happened. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is expected to announce this week that Dudek has left Arizona and will join the Wolverines. It’s going to be a significant loss for the Wildcats at the worst possible time.
It comes after RichRod lost assistant coaches to Nebraska, Cal and West Virginia in the off-season. The only thing I can compare it to in UA football history is the transition from 2002 to 2003 when John Mackovic, coming off a 2-10 season, lost assistants Charlie Camp, Scott Pelluer and Rick Dykes.
Some of the exodus is surely that Arizona went 3-9 last season. Given the fragile and transient nature of college football, the first instinct is to CYB — cover your butt. Get another job before you lose the one you’ve got.
Another part of Dudek’s departure is that Michigan plays a game unfamiliar to that at Arizona. No one knows that more than RichRod, who coached the Wolverines for three seasons.
In the last few months, Harbaugh has created two positions — three if you count Dudek. That gives Michigan 37 full-time people on Harbaugh’s staff. The Wolverines hired Navy’s Sean Magee as director of player personnel last spring, and hired Cincinnati recruiting coordinator Cooper Petagna last month.
Dudek’s new title is director of recruiting. It is more money, more prestige and a new clock starting on his employment. Good for him.
Meanwhile, RichRod will join the Pac-12 coaches at the league’s annual media days in Los Angeles. Here’s the ballot I dispatched to Pac-12 headquarters for the annual media poll to be released this week:
South: 1) USC; 2) Utah; 3) UCLA; 4) Colorado; 5) ASU; 6) Arizona.
North: 1) Washington; 2) WSU; 3) Stanford; 4) Oregon; 5) Oregon State; 6) Cal.
It’s too close to call between ASU and Arizona; the site of the Territorial Cup probably gives the Sun Devils a small edge. If either team breaks .500, it will be coach-of-the-year territory.