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Dave Heeke defends buying out Kevin Sumlin's contract

Posted at 10:34 PM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-19 00:34:18-05

TUCSON, Arizona — University of Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke said that despite a multi-million dollar buyout clause, he couldn't afford to not fire Kevin Sumlin.

"Our decision to incur additional expense with this buyout wasn’t easy, but it was made with the need to emerge out of this financial challenging year with a strong recovery plan," said Heeke. "It is with a strong purpose that ensures future financial success of Arizona Athletics."

Sumlin was just 9-20 in three seasons with the Wildcats. Arizona was 0-5 this season, and finished up with a 70-7 loss to Arizona State.

Heeke indicated that the next coach will very possibly be someone with Arizona ties or ties to the late Dick Tomey.

"I believe that’s important. So, yes, there needs to be some recognition of the power that exists here, and tapping into the power of our past.
That will be important going forward."

No specific names were mentioned. One possible one is San Jose State head coach. Brent Brennan. He has led the Spartans to a 6-0 record. Brennan was a graduate assistant under Tomey at Arizona in 2000, and was an assistant coach for him at San Jose State.