We are now only 52 days until the Arizona Wildcats kick off their 2018 season under new coach Kevin Sumlin.
When Arizona hosts BYU on Sept. 1, it will mark the 40th anniversary since the Wildcats joined the Pac-12 (went from the Pac-8 to the Pac-10 then) and also the 20th anniversary of the 1998 team with the best record in school history, 12-1, and the 25th anniversary of the 1993 team that went 10-2 with a win over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.
To get ready for the upcoming season, All Sports Tucson offers another countdown, which will include memories from former Wildcats, history notes and a look ahead to the season. Think of it as a way to keep Arizona football on the mind in the summer months leading up to fall camp in early August and then kickoff against the Cougars marking the start of the Sumlin Era.
To catch up on the countdown click on this: Arizona Wildcats 2018 countdown to kickoff.
A look back
— With it being the 52nd day until kickoff, the best player to wear No. 52 for Arizona? That would be Joe Tofflemire, who is one of the best — if not the best — offensive linemen in school history. Tofflemire was a standout center for the Wildcats from 1985 to 1988, starting all four years. Originally recruited as a linebacker, he was converted back to center, which is what he played in high school.
Tofflemire was a first team Playboy All-American and first team College Football News All-American in 1988. He was inducted into the Arizona Hall of Fame in 1994 and named to the Wildcat Stadium Ring of Honor in 1997.
He was a Morris Trophy winner in 1988 (given to the Pac-12’s best lineman as voted by opponets), and a three-time All-Pac-10 first team selection his sophomore through senior seasons.
Tofflemire was taken in the second round of the 1989 NFL Draft, the 44th selection overall by the Seattle Seahawks. He started all 16 games for the Seahawks in the 1992 season after taking over at center. He was hurt the following year and never regained his starting role because of injuries. Tofflemire retired after the 1994 season.
He passed away Sept. 27, 2011, aged 46, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, after being found unconscious and unresponsive in his Post Falls home. The cause of death was ruled as heart failure.
Former player interview: Paul Tofflemire
Paul Tofflemire, Joe’s younger brother, was also a standout player for the Wildcats from 1988 to 1991. He took over for his brother at center, giving Arizona a memorable string of seven straight seasons of a Tofflemire starting at that position.
Paul is now a successful real estate agent in the Seattle area.
Favorite Arizona player?
“Joe Tofflemire was my favorite player. All the players looked up to him.”
“Favorite play was Doug Pfaff kicking the game winning field goal vs. the Sooners in ’89.”
“My favorite memory was beating ASU in ’89 in Tempe (keeping ‘The Streak’ alive another season).”
What excites you about this season?
“I’m excited about the potential our defense has to improve from last year. Lots of young players from last year returning.”
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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.