Arizona Athletics

Arizona’s Heeke will get his guy … eventually, maybe; likely opposite of Rodriguez

Here we are on Day 8 of the Arizona coaching search situation … or better known as the Arizona Football Program Hostage Situation.

Everyone wants to know who in the heck the new Arizona football coach will be. Heck, they wanted to know minutes after Rich Rod was let go that fateful Tuesday night last week. My guess it will happen sooner rather than later given the urgent need to get someone in that hot seat in Lowell Stevens, where he will have great views and is confident enough to lead the team into a consistent nine, 10, 11-game winner.

Hell, I’m pulling for Dave Heeke to just make the right hire, whether it takes him eight days, nine days or 20 days. This isn’t easy – and shouldn’t be.

In the last few days, seemingly everyone has been mentioned: Kevin Sumlin, Mark Helfrich, Mark Sanford, Beau Baldwin, Bryan Harsin, Neal Brown (now out), Joe Salave’a and even Rick Neuheisel. Of course, Ricky Hunley and Chuck Cecil have been your usual write-in votes – and deservedly so given their history with the program.

Dart board central.

Oh, wait, what would any job search be without a Rich Neuheisel entry? True or untrue. Luckily Chip Kelly has a job already or his name would have been mentioned.

Enough already.

We will know when we know and I’m expecting something soon. What soon means is anyone’s guess … just like this whole process.

Heeke is on it, just as is that $$$$ search firm (why it’s being used is beyond me. Pay me and give me a 1099). Surely for Arizona fan’s sake they will hire someone good. What I’m sure of is they will hire someone much different than Rich Rod, who came in as the anti-Mike Stoops in terms of winning the press conference. He was the hot-name-at-the-time guy.

Sold me … until he didn’t. He may have won the press conference early, and then became a press conference nightmare.

Weird how you don’t hear that term: “winning the press conference” anymore. That’s code word for BSer (at least in my mind). But that’s who former UA AD Greg Byrne brought in when he hired Rich Rod. It looked so good in the early years when he was knocking off the Oklahoma State’s, Oregon’s, Washington’s before it all started to slip, slip, slip away.

But for all intent and purposes Byrne had replaced Stoops with a guy unlike Stoops – a better communicator (so he thought). And, well, it was HIS guy.

Such was the case when Jim Livengood hired Stoops to replace John Mackovic, a known do-as-I-say coach who turned on players which eventually created a player revolt. Today’s athletes aren’t the same as your father’s athletes. These ones need to be coddled a bit and Mackovic didn’t play that.

But that too was why he replaced Dick Tomey, the ultimate Father Flannagan, who knew when to coddle and knew when not to. He was the anti-Mackovic. I’ll stop there because those are the coaches I’ve seen come and go since I arrived here in the late 1980s. Chuck Cecil address the local media during the season.

Tomey, Mackovic, Stoops and Rodriguez.

Every hire has been the opposite of the previous hire is my point. Where Heeke goes from here is likely a clean-as-a-whistle coach (do they make those anymore?) who can lead Arizona fans to the games and keep them there. Good luck with that. And good luck with the hire, now in day eight of the hostage situation.

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