Matt Luke is expected to name former West Virginia, Michigan, and Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez as offensive coordinator, according to The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman and many other reports. Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reported that the deal is a multi-year deal and that the Rebels held off Utah and Kyle Whittingham for his services.
Source adds that Rodriguez will get a little under $3 million for the entirely of the deal. Ole Miss held off a late push from Utah, which was also interested in Rodriguez. https://t.co/pD9j5M4TJM— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 31, 2018
Rodriguez will replace Phil Longo, who left to join Mack Brown’s staff at North Carolina. Despite the gaudy numbers and records that were set, Longo’s offense was downright stagnant at times and struggled in the red zone mightily.
The deal was finalized just a day after our very own Bunkie Perkins’ brother was able to confirm that Rodriguez was in Oxford, interviewing for the job with Luke.
Rodriguez became a head coach with the Mountaineers in 2001, incorporating an up-tempo, spread-based scheme that is considered the basis for many offenses in college football today. He won four Big East titles and a Sugar Bowl with the Mountaineers before taking over at Michigan. There he was fired after a tumultuous three years at the helm despite his offenses still being exciting with players like Denard Robinson and Roy Roundtree.
Most recently, he was the head coach in Tucson, winning a Pac-12 South title and being named Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2014, but that was the only time the Wildcats finished higher than third in the division. His tenure in the desert came to an end after he was accused in a lawsuit of sexual harassment, forcing his assistant to cover up his extramarital affair, and making unwanted sexual advancements.
Despite the baggage, Rodriguez undoubtedly knows how to coach an offense. He invented the zone-read play out of the shotgun formation, and has mentored a few offensive stars throughout his tenure, including Steve Slaton, Patrick White, and most recently, Khalil Tate.
It will be interesting to see how his high-flying offense utilizes Scottie Phillips, Matt Corral, and the rest of the returning offensive talent.