The next Arizona Wildcats football coach: 5 guys to keep an eye on

Posted at 6:18 PM, Jan 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-09 21:44:10-05

The Arizona Wildcats' search for a new coach began a week ago when the team fired six-year head coach Rich Rodriguez amid sexual harassment allegations.

Since then, UA athletic director Dave Heeke has been busy trying to find Rodriguez's replacement. Who will the new guy be? Here are five candidates whose names seem to pop up the most.

1. Kevin Sumlin

Current job: None

Head coaching record: 86-43 (10 seasons)

Most Wildcat fans have this man at the top of their wish list, and it's easy to see why. The 53-year-old Sumlin has experienced success at both of his head coaching stops -- at Houston, where he led the Cougars to a 12-1 record in his final season, and at Texas A&M, where he went 51-26 over six seasons. Sumlin was fired by the Aggies in November following a 7-5 season, but he's arguably the best coach on the market right now. Also, he can recruit in Arizona: He poached a pair of five-star Scottsdale athletes out from under ASU's nose a couple years ago.

2. Beau Baldwin

Current job: Offensive coordinator, Cal

Head coaching record: 95-35 (10 seasons)

Baldwin has yet to coach at the FBS level, but his time is coming, and Tucson could be his first destination. The 45-year-old former quarterback had a great deal of success as the head coach of FCS school Eastern Washington, which plays in the Big Sky Conference alongside Northern Arizona. Baldwin, who led the Eagles to the 2010 FCS championship, joined Cal's staff last season. He has shown the ability to get the most out of the quarterbacks he's coached, which bodes well for the Wildcats, who feature rising star Khalil Tate at that position.

3. Neal Brown

Current job: Head coach, Troy

Head coaching record: 25-13 (three seasons)

At 37 years old, Brown is the youngest candidate on this list, but he's already done big things at Troy University in Alabama. Brown, a former wide receiver, led the Trojans to an 11-2 record and a Sun Belt Conference championship in 2017. (That included a monumental upset victory at LSU in September.) Brown had stops at Texas Tech and Kentucky before taking the head coaching job at Troy before the 2015 season.

4. Les Miles

Current job: None

Head coaching record: 141-55 (16 seasons)

This doesn't seem as likely as the coaches listed above, but UA's athletic director has reportedly spoken to Miles about the position. The 64-year-old is the only coach on Arizona's radar who has won an FBS national championship; he did so at LSU in 2007. Miles spent four seasons at Oklahoma State's head coach before jumping to LSU in 2005 -- and during his 12-year tenure in Baton Rouge, he led the Tigers to seven double-digit-win seasons and two national championship game appearances.

5. Jedd Fisch

Current job: None

Head coaching record: 1-1 (as interim coach)

Fisch was UCLA's offensive coordinator in 2017 but took over as the team's interim head coach after Jim Mora was fired late in the season. He was at the Bruins' helm when they lost to Kansas State in the Cactus Bowl in Phoenix last month. Fisch has bounced back and forth between college football and the NFL; he served as quarterbacks coach for the Seahawks, wide receivers coach for the Broncos and took on both roles at Michigan. He was also the Jaguars' offensive coordinator from 2013-14.