After a 3-9 season in 2016, whispers emerged with regard to Rich Rodriguez and his status as the head coach of the Arizona Wildcats. Then, a strong 7-3 start to the 2017 campaign seemed to silence any chatter that the former Michigan and West Virginia head coach was on the hot seat. After three consecutive losses including a 12-point defeat at the hands of rival Arizona State to end the regular season, though, Rodriguez will be looking for employment elsewhere as of Tuesday evening.
The university confirmed the move in a statement.
On Tuesday evening, Dan Wolken of USA Today reported that Arizona had been investigating Rodriguez “for potential workplace misconduct” and, even after nothing was uncovered by that search, the report indicates that a potential lawsuit with less-than-stellar optics loomed over the coach and institution as a result.
The lawsuit in question was seemingly filed earlier this week, alleging sexual harassment and a hostile workplace.
While it remains to be seen as to how the Wildcats will announce the move, the reality of Rodriguez’s ouster appears to be setting in and Arizona will have the unenviable task of searching for a new head football coach in January, while the rest of the carousel sits dormant.
UPDATE: According to Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports, Arizona’s decision to fire Rodriguez was exclusively related to the direction of the football program.
The university seemed to confirm this when it released information into sexual harassment claims against Rodriguez, which it says it investigated and could not substantiate.