Arizona Football

2024 Arizona football season countdown: 89 days to kickoff

To get ready for the upcoming Arizona football season, All Sports Tucson offers a countdown, which will include history notes and a look ahead to the season — a good way to keep Arizona football on the mind in the summer months leading up to fall camp in early August and then kickoff against New Mexico on Aug. 31 in the start of the Brent Brennan era.



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With it being the 89th day until kickoff between the Lobos and Wildcats, the best player to wear No. 89 for Arizona is linebacker Ricky Hunley, who emerged as the greatest to play for the Wildcats during his career from 1980-83. Ricky Hunley remains the leading tackler in Arizona history with 566. He is atop the record book in unassisted tackles (323) and assisted tackles (243). He also had 12 interceptions in his career, which leads all Wildcat linebackers. He had seven interceptions in 1983. Hunley, inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998, is the highest drafted Wildcat in the program’s history. Cincinnati drafted him as the No. 7 selection in the 1984 NFL draft. He went on to play in three Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos. Hunley is at his alma mater, entering his first season as Executive Director, Player Relations and External Development in 2024 following three seasons as defensive line coach. 

NO. 89 IN 2024

No current players are listed wearing uniform No. 89. Hunley’s jersey is retired by Arizona but players are still able to wear No. 89.


In addition to Arizona’s game at Kansas State on Sept. 13 not factoring into the new Big 12 standings, Baylor’s game at Utah on Sept. 7 will not count as a conference game. Both scheduling arrangements were made before the schools left the Pac-12 for the Big 12. The same situation exists next season between Kansas State and Arizona on Sept. 13, 2025, in a game scheduled at Arizona Stadium. It will be the second year of their home-and-home arrangement. The Baylor-Utah game this season is the second game of such an arrangement. Utah beat Baylor 20-13 at Waco, Texas, last Septmember. Arizona’s first regular-season Big 12 game against K-State won’t be until the 2026 season when the Wildcats visit Manhattan, Kan.


Arizona great Ricky Hunley is in his fourth season being part of Arizona’s coaching and operations (Arizona Athletics photo)

“That old Chinese proverb just rings in my ear: ’You cannot taste my tea until you first empty your cup.’ A lot of kids will come with their minds made up about what they think they know. But really, they don’t know squat. So you kind of break them down. You say, ’Hey, if you’re going to be a part of this, you got to do it this way.’” — Ricky Hunley about breaking in freshmen into the progam and college football in general.

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! 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, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, 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. He became an educator in 2016 and is presently a special education teacher at Sunnyside High School in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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