Two questions posed on my Twitter account yesterday about Rich Rodriguez’s firing at Arizona had telling results.
This was the first question:
Do you think Arizona did the right thing by firing Rich Rodriguez? The 202 people who responded answered this way:
Do you think Arizona did the right thing by firing Rich Rodriguez?
— 81 percent indicated he should have been fired while only 19 percent believed it would have been best to keep him.
That question was followed up with this question: Do you think Rodriguez should have been fired based ONLY on the sexual harassment/hostile work environment charge by an administrative assistant? The 162 voters went in this direction:
Throwing another poll out there: Do you think Rich Rodriguez should have been fired based ONLY on the sexual harassment/hostile work environment charge by an administrative assistant?
— A majority of the voters, 56 percent, indicated the sexual harassment/hostile work environment allegations made by the former administrative assistant should not have been a factor in Rodriguez’s firing.
What it amounts to: Most of Arizona’s followers are in agreement with the school’s administration, which stated it fired Rodriguez (without cause from the misconduct allegations) due to “several factors, including the direction and climate of our football program.”
In other words, a majority of fans had enough of what Rodriguez brought to the program and agreed with the school that it was time for a change, regardless of what might have taken place with Rodriguez and his former administrative assistant.
Rodriguez brought Arizona a Pac-12 South title in 2014 and coached three players who garnered some type of Heisman consideration: running back Ka’Deem Carey in 2013, linebacker Scooby Wright III in 2014 and quarterback Khalil Tate this last season.
But even those factors, and a winning record of 43-35 at Arizona, were outweighed in the fans’ minds by a 2-4 record against ASU and 24-30 mark in Pac-12 games (including a 2-10 mark against USC and UCLA). Some recruiting shortcomings and a struggling defense — although gradually corrected by defensive coordinator Marcel Yates the last two seasons — are also sticking points with fans that Rodriguez had more failures than successes in his six years in Tucson.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.