Arizona Football

Sumlin out as UA’s Head Coach; UA had ‘high hopes’

So long Kevin Sumlin, we hardly knew you. Literally.

In your three years – years that felt like six even before COVID time – I’m not sure if anyone locally or otherwise did a profile story on what seemed like an ideal hire at the time. Hell, what does anyone know about Sumlin?

In fact, he was taken aback when a local TV anchorman asked him about his past when he was an insurance salesman and not coaching the week of a big game. I laughed, given the situation. And not at the anchorman but at Sumlin in that he rarely, if ever, granted one-on-one interviews. There was no other place but there to ask the question.

Kevin Sumlin addressing the media after UA’s first full day of practice. (Anthony Gimino photo)

So, again, what do you know about Sumlin that isn’t a rumor?

Well, this isn’t: he’s gone for good and no longer the University of Arizona coach. UA’s administration – finally? – pulled the plug on what turned out to be a bad hire nearly three years ago next month.

“When we hired Kevin three years ago, we had very high hopes for our football program,” Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke said. “Unfortunately, we simply have not seen the results and upward trajectory in our program that we needed to, and I believe now is the time for a change in leadership. I thank Kevin for his service to the University of Arizona and wish him the very best in the future.”

Don’t cry for Sumlin in as much as Arizona “will honor the terms of Sumlin’s existing contract, including all buyout provisions, with funding from athletics generated revenue and sources.”

That would mean Arizona will play him $7.5 million to go away, just three years after Texas A&M did the same at a cost of $10 million.

Assistant coach Paul Rhoads, who handles UA’s defense, will coach the remainder of the season. Arizona is clearly up against a tough timetable given National Letter of Intent Day is on Wednesday. UA has 21 commitments as of today. Four commitments have changed their minds over the last few weeks, months.

Heeke, and whoever will be assisting, is now tasked to get Arizona through one of the toughest times in UA football history given the apathy for the program. They will also be working on hiring the fifth UA head football coach since the late Dick Tomey was fired in 2000.

“Our attention now turns to finding the next head coach at the University of Arizona, while we continue to support our student-athletes, who have sacrificed so much since returning to campus this summer,” Heeke continued in the release. “We will cast a wide net to identify and recruit a coach who shares our vision, our values and our passion for winning.”

It’s not clear if his overall 9-20 overall record, the school record 12-game losing streak, four-game losing streak to Arizona State or his 70-7 orchestration loss to ASU was what did it.

Could be any and or all of the mediocrity that was produced over the last three years.

I’m anticipating a press conference of some sorts in the future, although it’s anyone’s guess given COVID-19 protocols.

Someone has to answer to Sumlin’s lack of success.

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