The Arizona Wildcats are not in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, and something is to be said about the bowl continuing to operate although Arizona has not participated in any of the first four games since the bowl started in 2015.
The truth of the matter is the bowl needs first and foremost local business and civic leaders to step up to make sure the bowl survives, not an affiliation with Arizona playing in the game.
Some Arizona and Tucson ties still exist although the teams are from Nevada and Arkansas State. That’s a plus but mostly just a footnote to all the other stories involved with the “Dances with Wolves Bowl” between the Red Wolves and the Wolf Pack.
Here are those Arizona and Tucson ties:
— Nevada has two assistant coaches — defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Jeff Casteel and defensive secondary coach David Lockwood — who were part of Rich Rodriguez‘s staff at Arizona. Casteel coached five years at Arizona (from 2012 to 2016). Lockwood was part of Arizona’s staff as the cornerbacks coach from 2012 to 2015.
— Nevada junior receiver Kaleb Fossum, who played two seasons at Washington State, comes from a family that consists of a lot of Arizona athletes. Uncle Kevin Sears played baseball at Arizona after graduating from Salpointe Catholic and Scottsdale Community College; uncle Tom Lloyd played tennis at Arizona and is the head coach at Loyola Marymount; aunts Samantha Sears and Liz Lloyd (twin sisters) played soccer at Arizona; and cousin Logan Bartlett played football for the Wildcats.
— Arizona baseball coach Jay Johnson was the head coach at Nevada before coming to Tucson before the 2017 season.
— Former Salpointe standout hoops player Sybil Dosty, daughter of former Arizona standout Robbie Dosty and a member of the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame, is an assistant coach with the Nevada women’s basketball team.
— Not a football connection but former Nogales High School standout Justin Felix is a fifth-year senior catcher with Arkansas State’s baseball team.
— Former teammates of current Arizona players (research by AllSportsTucson.com) includes two between Arkansas State and the Wildcats while 14 Nevada players played with Arizona players in high school:
DB Darreon Jackson played with Arizona DT Dereck Boles in 2016 at Coffeyville (Kan.) JC and 2015 with Boise State under Arizona defensive coordinator Marcel Yates.
DE Noel Iwuchukwu played with Arizona DT Sione Taufehema in 2016 at College of the Canyons (Calif.) JC
LB Anthony Allen played with Arizona LB Tony Fields II and OL Edgar Burrola at Las Vegas Desert Pines HS
DB Daniel Brown played with Arizona WR Devaughn Cooper and LB Anthony Pandy at Los Angeles Narbonne HS
OL Aaron Frost played with Arizona DE J.B. Brown at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly HS
LB Kayle Adams and OL Jack Bolduc played with Arizona QB Khalil Tate at San Mateo (Calif.) Juniper Serra HS
DB Teyjohn Harrison played with Arizona CB McKenzie Barnes at Fresno Edison HS
DB Jordan Lee, RB Russell Booze, PK Ramiz Ahmed, DB Austin Arnold, DB Jojuan Claiborne and DE Amir Johnson played with Arizona CB Malik Hausman at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman HS
LB Lamin Touray played with Arizona RB Nazar Bombata and DT Sione Taufahema at Los Angeles Bishop Alemany HS
RB Roger Neal played with Arizona OL Cody Creason at Folsom (Calif.) HS
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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.