RichRod introduced as new Arizona coach

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Not even a year after being fired from the University of Michigan, Rich Rodriguez is back into coaching at Arizona. The announcement was made last night when ‘Zona AD Greg Byrne tweeted a picture of him, Rodriguez and Rodriguez’s family.

“You can win one [a national championship] here” Rodriguez, who signed a five-year, nearly $10 million deal, said in the school’s press conference today. “We have nice weather, good athletics, good academics. We have athletes here. Why not us? Why can’t we win?”

Byrne has been silent about UA’s hiring process since firing former coach Mike Stoops in October. Today, Byrne mentioned that he had spoken with coaches at the high school, college and pro level, athletic directors, university presidents and more — and many conversations always came back to Rodriguez

One of those conversations was with Urban Meyer.

“If you hire Rich Rodriguez, you’ll be getting one of the five greatest minds in college football,” Byrne said of the message relayed to him by Meyer.

That would certainly give context to the reports of Byrne and Meyer meeting in Miami two weeks ago.

It appears the deal between RichRod and ‘Zona may have been finalized Saturday. The newly-hired coach said Byrne, UA president Eugene Sander and members of the athletic dept staff flew to El Paso to meet with him.

Now that Rodriguez is in, the next step will be for him to put his coaching staff together. Rodriguez said he will respect the fact that other schools are still finishing up their season, indicating he could wait to make some hires until the lull between conference championship weeks and bowl season. However, Rodriguez added that he could make some initial hires — possibly for position coaches — as early as next week.

Rodriguez said he would keep a mixture of coaches who knew the recruiting grounds and assistants he’s worked with before. Initial speculation has pointed toward current Pitt offensive coordinator Calvin McGee, who was with Rodriguez at WVU and Michigan, and current WVU defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel.