Arizona Closing In On Mike Bellotti As Next Head Football Coach?

Mike Stoops has been fired after eight seasons in Tucson. UA went 41-50 during his tenure and won just one bowl game.

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Mike Bellotti The Next Arizona Wildcats Football Coach? Conflicting Reports Coming In

With the season winding down for the Arizona Wildcats, it appears the program may be close to naming their next head coach. Mike Bellotti has reportedly been one of the leading candidates for weeks now and a lot of momentum is building for him in Tucson.

While an official deal has not been reached and no official announcement will be made today -- Bellotti is serving as an analyst on ESPN2 for a BIG10 game -- it appears he and the University of Arizona could be close to a deal if the incoming reports are true. There are some refuting these reports, though, and are suggesting this is a smokescreen from Greg Byrne to land a bigger target.

Brad Allis of the Wildcat Sports Report tweeted this:

Bellotti news heating up. One set of sources feel it is "done"

As a few others started to share these beliefs, Ryan Finley of the Arizona Daily Star weighed in:

Lots of Bellotti speculation this am. There will be no news today. Again, he's calling Illinois game for ESPN

And on a potential smokescreen from Athletic Director Greg Byrne:

Bellotti makes sense on the surface, but not sure if he's the HR hire Byrne wanted. This could be a smokescreen. #ArizonaWildcats

And if not Bellotti, then who?

Maybe Bellotti, but he's so ... obvious. Arizona coulda had him 4 weeks ago. Hearing more and more about (Rich Rodriguez).

We need to give a lot of credit to Byrne for keeping the rumors to a minimum during this coaching search. Saturday is truly the first time we've had multiple sources with conflicting reports. This works best for all parties involved.

As for a source of my own, I spoke with a long time family friend who is a big time booster for Arizona athletics. He told me that there was a "ton" of support for bringing Bellotti to Tucson because of his track record and ability to incorporate the community into his football program. My source told me there was somewhere around a "75-90% chance" Bellotti would become the next head coach and there was a lot of momentum behind his name.

Stay tuned. Again, an official announcement is not expected today, but it could come as early as Sunday morning. Whether that announcement be for Bellotti, Rich Rodriguez, Chris Petersen or Lou Holtz (kidding) is anyone's guess at this point.

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Mike Bellotti Denies Rumors Linking Him To Arizona Wildcats Job

Just a few hours after various reports indicated Mike Bellotti was the man for the Arizona Wildcats and their head coaching vacancy, the 60-year old shot the rumors down.

Isn't this the exact thing athletic direction Greg Byrne hoped to avoid?

According to Ken Goe of The Oregonian, the reports are false. The former Oregon football coach Mike Bellotti denied Thursday that he is in the running to become football coach at Arizona.

"There is nothing to this," Bellotti said when reached by phone. "That is the easiest thing I can say."

[...]

"Every year it's always nice to hear your name associated with jobs," Bellotti said. "The first thing I have to do is determine what my job is with ESPN and where I want to go with that.

"And, I have to decide if I go back to football, what my job would be, and where I would go with that."

Wonderful.

Mark Asher of Arizona Sports 620 AM was the first to report the alleged rumor, though his history of accurately reporting news stories is, well, not the best, if we're being honest.

At the same time, though, this could simply be Bellotti's attempt to shoot the rumors down because of a legitimate interest in the job. At age 60 he likely only has a few seasons left in his career, but he is in good health and helped build Oregon into the powerhouse they are today. Arizona appears to be a great opportunity for Bellotti and there is legitimate interest in Tucson.

Rumors: can't live with 'em, can't have a fun sports day without 'em.

For more on the Wildcats, check out Arizona Desert Swarm.

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Mike Bellotti, Leading Arizona Wildcats Football Coaching Candidate?

Maybe we've been looking at the wrong Mike all along.

Mike Bellotti might be eyeing a return to the Pac-12, and he's apparently in the mix for the Arizona Wildcats head coaching search.

Mark Asher of Arizona Sports 620 AM reports on the two most important hires Arizona will probably be making this offseason.

Hearing it is Bellotti to UofA. Justin Wilcox could be the Defensive Coordinator

Bellotti had a long and successful run as head coach of the Oregon Ducks, compiling a record of 137-80-2 and two Pac-10 championships, sharing one with Washington and Oregon State in 2000 and winning one outright the year after. Oregon had only one losing season in his 14 years. It'd be hard to beat that resume.

The idea of Wilcox moving to Arizona from Tennessee is hard to believe though. Tennessee is one of the most prominent college football programs in the country. Taking a lateral move to Tucson does seem like a step backward if Wilcox really wants to climb the college ladder.

For more on the Wildcats coaching search, hit up Arizona Desert Swarm.

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Mike Leach Noncommittal About Arizona Wildcats Coaching Vacancy

The Arizona Wildcats and Mike Leach. Sounds like a match made in heaven, doesn't it?

Leach didn't give off any clues about his interest in the position when he made a trip to Tucson today for promoting the Casino del Sol College All-Star Game. But as Ryan Finley of the Arizona Daily Star reports it, Leach gives off clues that he probably would be interested in the position if he was approached.

"Anybody would be interested in that job," Leach said.

"They have an idea of what they're looking for, an idea of the direction of where they're going. If I somehow fit in there, maybe there'll be some dialog; if I don't, I'm sure they'll select a good individual for the position."

Leach isn't likely to make a decision anytime soon, probably not until after the season. But the profile of Tucson does seem to match up with Leach--it's out in the middle of nowhere, they run the Airraid attack that he perfected, and Arizona hasn't made a Rose Bowl in forever (and I mean it--never ever has Arizona made it to Pasadena). Why not take the show to the West and try to stir things up in the Pac-12?

For more on the Wildcats and their coaching search, go to Arizona Desert Swarm.

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Arizona Football Has Potential For Greatness Under Next Head Coach

Arizona may have lost on Saturday, but an underlying theme from the game should have fans excited for the future.

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