Multiple reports, first generated by ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, indicate Arizona will hire longtime college and NFL assistant Jedd Fisch as its new head coach today. A press conference through ZOOM is set up today at 12:30 p.m. to make the announcement.
Here are five things to know about him:
Did not play football in high school or college
Fisch, who grew up in East Hanover Township, N.J., and attended Hanover Park High School, did not play football at the high school or college level. He was an all-state tennis player during his prep career.
His love for football was apparent at a young age, however, as he dressed up as the Philadelphia Eagles coach for Halloween in elementary school.
Fisch graduated from the University of Florida in 1998 with a degree in criminology. He attended Florida for the opportunity to someday work for Florida head coach Steve Spurrier. He was a college roommate with Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman.
He reportedly left notes on Spurrier’s car for more than 400 straight days to get the attention of the old football coach. That landed him a high-school coaching job as a defensive coordinator in Gainesville, Fla., where Fisch was drawn closer to Spurrier and the Gators because the Florida coaches recruited some of his players.
“My dad was a college tennis player,” Fisch told the Pac-12 Networks in a 2017 interview. “It was like I got brought up with a racket. Later on in life, when I was in high school, my mom started dating a head football coach. That’s when my love and passion for the game changed.
“I said, ‘This is the greatest thing in the entire world, and I’m going to go coach football.'”
Showing the zest to get into coaching much like former Arizona walk-on Josh Pastner did landing a spot on Lute Olson’s roster and bench as an assistant, Fisch sent out a letter to every NFL and NCAA Division I team.
When Fisch is driven, he is really driven.
The Boston Herald reported that Fisch successfully snuck into the court room twice to observe the O.J. Simpson trial as a pre-law student at Florida.
Coached under legendary coaches
The list of coaches that Fisch, 44, has coached under include:
- Steve Spurrier with the Florida Gators
- Dom Capers with the Houston Texans
- Brian Billick with the Baltimore Ravens
- Mike Shanahan with the Denver Broncos
- Pete Carroll with the Seattle Seahawks
- Jim Harbaugh with the Michigan Wolverines
- Jim Mora with the UCLA Bruins
- Sean McVay with the Los Angeles Rams
- Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots
“I think a lot of our staff knows Jedd and I’ve known Jedd for a number of years,” Belichick told the media in July. “He just brings a lot of experience and wisdom to our staff and a number of our other coaches have interacted with Jedd over the years. He’s made a good transition. I’m glad we have him. He’s done a good job of acclimating himself, bringing in some good ideas.”
McVay said of Fisch to the NorthJersey.com: “We kind of kept in touch over the years (a mutual respect and eventual friendship developed from their connection to Shanahan). What we’re trying to do is get great coaches in our building. When we had the opportunity to try and bring him on board, you just find a way to create a role for him. He’s been a great addition.”
Arizona 15th coaching stop in last 23 years
After being around Spurrier at Florida, Fisch moved on to the NFL’s Houston Texans, where he served as an assistant to Capers from 2001 to 2003. Fisch then moved to the Baltimore Ravens under Billick, where he first served as a general offensive assistant for the 2004 season before being named assistant quarterbacks coach and assistant wide receivers coach for the 2005–2007 seasons.
Fisch served as the Denver Broncos wide receivers coach under Shanahan in 2008.
Fisch returned to the college coaching in 2009, serving a single season as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Minnesota under coach Tim Brewster.
Fisch then returned to the NFL, serving a single season as quarterbacks coach for the Seattle Seahawks in Carroll’s first year with the team.
Then it was back to the NCAA, where he served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Miami under Al Golden from 2011 to 2012.
Fisch then returned to the NFL once more, as the offensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars under Gus Bradley for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
On Jan. 9, 2015, Fisch was hired by Michigan to serve as the quarterbacks coach, wide receivers coach, and passing game coordinator. Fisch stated that he was drawn to a job at Michigan despite not having ties to Harbaugh, the university or the area. He had a long-standing coaching relationship with Vic Fangio, Harbaugh’s defensive coordinator for four years with the San Francisco 49ers and one year with Stanford.
On Jan. 5, 2017, Fisch was hired by Mora as UCLA’s offensive coordinator. In November of that year, Fisch was named interim head coach at UCLA for the remainder of the season after the firing of Mora.
On Jan. 24, 2018, McVay added Fisch to the Rams’ deep group of offensive coaches, when they hired him as a senior offensive assistant. Fisch operated as the Rams’ clock-management specialist. He was promoted to assistant offensive coordinator for the 2019 season.
On Jan. 24, 2020, Fisch was hired by the New England Patriots as an offensive assistant. In April, Belichick announced that Fisch’s title would be quarterbacks coach.
On Dec. 23, 2020, Fisch became Arizona’s head football coach.
Endured serious heart issues
When he was a 26-year-old defensive quality control coach for the Texans under Capers, he was in a hospital room hooked up to a ventilator and unable to speak after multiple heart surgeries.
Fisch survived an aortic dissection, a life-threatening condition in which the largest artery of the heart ruptures.
“I felt like I worked really hard to get that opportunity (to coach) and didn’t want life’s happenstance to get in the way of that,” Fisch told the Detroit Free-Press in 2015. “I felt like I was going to get back, I was going to get out of that ICU.”
When in the hospital, Fisch scribbled out the words on a napkin to Capers:
“Do I still have my job?”
“It’s pretty amazing when you’re just hoping he’s going to be able to pull through things,” Capers told the Free-Press. “He was always very motivated and would go the extra mile to get things done. … You could tell this profession meant an awful lot to him.”
Fisch and wife Amber have family with three daughters
Fisch and his wife Amber have three daughters (Zaylee, Ashlee and Kendall), who have had to move with him along his football coaching journey although their roots remain in New Jersey.
Zaylee is an Arizona student who has attended Pima College.
Fisch’s family also has ties to New York City. His mother lives in Morristown, N.J.
“I’m back home as often as I can, we have a house in Belmar (N.J.) that we go to every summer,” Fisch told NorthJersey.com in a 2019 article. “There’s no doubt that my love for coaching came from my time as a kid growing up in New Jersey, going to practices at Bergen Catholic. Jersey’s my spot, and you never forget where you came from.”
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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.