Arizona president Robert C. Robbins was the first to welcome newly hired coach Kevin Sumlin off a charter plane at Tucson International Airport on Monday night.
The school’s athletic department Web site, ArizonaWildcats.com, had a video camera at the airport to capture the moment of Sumlin arriving in Tucson for Tuesday’s introductory press conference at McKale Center.
Among the welcoming party with Robbins was athletic director Dave Heeke.
Robbins mentioned to Sumlin, Arizona’s first African-American head football coach, that the hiring had added significance to it on this particular day.
“The whole way it worked out, Martin Luther King Day, I couldn’t be prouder. I could not be prouder,” Robbins told Sumlin.
“It’s a big deal,” Sumlin said in agreement.
Heeke asked Sumlin if he was aware that he shares a common bond with former Arizona basketball coach Fred Snowden, who is a Brewton, Ala., native like Sumlin.
“Fred Snowden … my dad (William) knew him,” Sumlin said. “He used to talk about him a lot.”
Heeke also informed Sumlin of the zany background of him being the third athletic director at Arizona who is an alum of small Albion College in Michigan. J.F. “Pop” McKale and Cedric Dempsey also graduated from Albion.
“We have these little lineage things,” Heeke told Sumlin.
Sumlin added about Snowden, “My dad used to talk about Fred all the time. It was a big deal.”