Jeff Casteel Officially Joins Arizona Wildcats After Months Of Speculation

Coach Rodriguez already has his offensive staff in place, but is yet to make any hires for the defensive side of the ball.

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Jeff Casteel Officially Hired By Arizona Wildcats, Completing Stellar Coaching Staff In Tucson

It's official: Jeff Casteel is the new defensive coordinator for the Arizona Wildcats. The news was finally confirmed by the UA this afternoon, including a tweet from head coach Rich Rodriguez. Fans may recalled athletic director Greg Byrne announced the hiring of coach Rodriguez on Twitter and it is clear Arizona continues to lead the way in social media in college athletics.

Here is a snippet of the official release that was sent out moments ago:

TUCSON, Ariz.--Arizona's Rich Rodriguez completed his football coaching staff today with the appointment of Jeff Casteel to defensive coordinator, David Lockwood as a defensive backs coach, Bill Kirelawich as defensive line coach and Spencer Leftwich as tight ends coach.

Casteel, Lockwood and Kirelawich come from similar posts at West Virginia University and Leftwich joins Rodriguez's staff from the offensive line position at Pittsburgh. Casteel and Kirelawich worked under Rodriguez during his tenure as head coach at WVU.

"We are very excited to have Jeff, David, Bill and Spencer, and their families, join our family here at the University of Arizona. They are not only great coaches, but great people who bring a lot of quality experience and knowledge to our staff," Rodriguez said.

This is a huge day for Rich Rodriguez, the entire coaching staff and the Arizona Wildcats football program. Coach Casteel is widely regarded as both a first-class person and coach and fans should rest assured all the pieces are in place for a very successful tenure in Tucson.

A press conference will be held in Tucson on Friday at 11 a.m. to introduce the newest members of the coaching staff. Fans can find a live stream here.

For more on the Wildcats, head on over to Arizona Desert Swarm. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @SBNArizona and myself @ScottColeman_UA. You can also LIKE us on Facebook for continued coverage.


Jeff Casteel Reportedly Agrees To Become Defensive Coordinator For Arizona Wildcats, Rich Rodriguez

There were plenty of rumors last week suggesting Jeff Casteel had a deal in place to leave West Virginia, a place he had spent most of his entire life, to join Rich Rodriguez and the Arizona Wildcats. Most felt it was a done deal, but there were whispers that Casteel may be having second thoughts when no official announcement was made by the UA.

After a busy weekend of speculation, there are even more rumors confirming that Casteel will be headed to Tucson, with some saying it is a done deal.

We are still awaiting news from the athletic department, although one could be made at any moment. The BCS National Championship Game likely means nothing is made official until at least Tuesday, but there is still a small chance something gets done today.


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Again, it appears everything is very close to being finalized with Jeff Casteel. The only issue that remains is which of his WVU assistant coaches he brings along with him to Tucson. Safeties coach Steve Dunlap, cornerbacks coach Dave Lockwood and defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich could all be headed to Arizona, although many affiliated with the Mountaineers would like to see these three retained if Casteel does indeed head west.

As for now, though, Arizona Wildcats fans should be absolutely thrilled to hear of these developments. There are few in the nation better than coach Casteel and he has a reputation for being a first-class citizen, as well. This is an exciting day for the UA football program.

Update: A few have you have contacted me asking for my sources and how I can confirm this news. You'll notice the word "reportedly" in the title, which means nothing is confirmed at this time. Yes, I have my people that I talk with that are close to the UA and I also read around on the Internet as much as you do to gather my information. All signs point to Casteel heading to Arizona, but this is not confirmed at all. We're not trying to scoop the story; just to report what is being said at WVU and UA.

For more on these two teams, head on over to Arizona Desert Swarm and The Smoking Musket.


Rich Rodriguez Yet To Hire Defensive Coordinator, Awaiting Decision From Jeff Casteel

The Arizona Wildcats experienced one of the swiftest and most pain-free coaching searches in recent history when they brought Rich Rodriguez to Tucson. While AD Greg Byrne was able to keep the rumors mum during his search for a head coach, they have been all over the place during the search for a defensive coordinator.

Jeff Casteel, the current DC at West Virginia, continues to be the one and only option for RichRod at this time. Many reports have indicated the savvy coordinator already has a deal in place with the UA and is simply hammering out some details, while others have gone on to say it is a done deal. Most believed an official announcement would be made on Friday, but the day passed without any confirmation.

Now, coach Rodriguez has announced that he will finalize his coaching staff by the end of next week, whether it be with Casteel or not, according to a report from Anthony Gimino.

Rodriguez, still waiting on the bulk of his defensive coaches - and with no official word from his old pal, West Virginia defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel - told KOLD-TV's Dave Cooney today there would be no decision on a coordinator until next week. [...]

From Rodriguez's perspective, he has to move, one way or another, soon. The end of next week sounds like a hard deadline. Rodriguez wants to have three big recruiting weekends through January, starting with next Friday, and it will hard to make progress without a full staff.

He told Cooney that "I have really been taking my time because I didn't want to disrupt and talk to anybody extensively until all the bowl games are over, and that last bowl game doesn't finish until Monday."

As Rodriguez mentions in a video interview, next week is a 'dead period' for recruiting, which means a coach can only contact a recruit once a day with a phone call. It would be nice to have the coaching staff in place, but it is not too much of an issue until next weekend, when the UA plans to host as many as 20 players on campus.

Things will start to pick up in the coming days. Buckle up.

For more on the Wildcats, head on over to AZ Desert Swarm.


Jeff Casteel Finalizing Deal To Join Rich Rodriguez, Arizona Wildcats In Tucson

Jeff Casteel has been a hot name in recent days and rumors are flying left and right about the highly regarded defensive coordinator leaving West Virginia to join Rich Rodriguez in Tucson. While most believe there is already an agreement is in place, nothing has been made official and the earliest the UA will likely announce something would be Friday.

There are likely some outstanding details that will need to be addressed, most notably Casteel's salary. The DC was set to earn upwards of $400,000 in 2012 and he will likely receive a substantial raise to come to the desert. There is also the issue of saying goodbye to all of his players and deciding which of his assistants to bring along with him to Arizona, two decisions that are never easy for a coach to make.

Again, nothing has been made official, but multiple credible reports are suggesting Casteel will indeed by hired by RichRod and the UA in the very near future.

For more on the Wildcats, head on over to Arizona Desert Swarm.


West Virginia DC Jeff Casteel Rumored To Arizona After Orange Bowl

Arizona Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez has hired a majority of his coaching staff for the offensive side of the football, but the search to find a defensive coordinator and defensive staff has taken longer than expected. That search might be over if early whispers are true that West Virginia Mountaineers defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel will join RichRod's staff after WVU's Orange Bowl appearance.

Casteel has been with WVU since 2001 and was Rodriguez's DC while there. When RichRod left to take the Michigan job, Casteel originally followed him but decided to stay at West Virginia shortly thereafter.

Casteel's defense have routinely ranked among the best nationally in scoring defense and turnover margin.

Casteel is rumored to be looking for a change of scenery from Dana Holgersen's offense-first mindset.

For more on the Wildcats, head on over to AZ Desert Swarm. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Rich Rodriguez To Arizona: 'This Is My Final Coaching Stop'

Rich Rodriguez has officially been named the next head coach of the Arizona Wildcats football program. While the short-term future of UA football has been secured, there are still some in the fan base with concerns that Rich-Rod is simply using Arizona to get his feet back on the ground before leaving for a better job. According to the head coach, that won't happen.

"This is my final coaching stop," the 48-year-old coach said. "I hope to be able to do this another 12 or 15 years."

Rodriguez also repeatedly said that he and his family had seriously contemplated moving to a warmer climate because of his wife's rheumatoid arthritis. Tucson is one of the best locations in the country for one with that condition and Tucson's beautiful weather had to be very appealing.

Still, while Rodriguez would never publicly state that he would consider a different job, it has to at least be in the back of every Wildcat fan's mind. This was the man, after all, that left a West Virginia program at the height of its existence for the bright lights of Michigan.

Arizona fans, students and alumni can only hope that Rodriguez learned his lesson from the debacle in Ann Arbor and will not jump ship so easily this time around. Everything appears to be in place for a very successful tenure in Tucson for Rodriguez and his family; now we just have to wait and see how it all plays out.


Rich Rodriguez Press Conference, 'Why Not Us?'

The University of Arizona introduced their new head football coach, Rich Rodriguez, to the fans and media in Tucson on Tuesday. Rodriguez spoke for a few minutes and answer questions from the media. 

"I want to win the Rose Bowl at the University of Arizona. I want to be in the top ten of the country every year," Rodriguez said.

He would not say, however, how long that might take. He will wait until after spring football to fully assess the team and where they currently stand. In the mean time, Rich Rod will stay away from the team as they prepare for their final game of the season.

Rodriguez complemented interim coach Tim Kish but wouldn't say what role Kish or any of the current staff would have with his team moving forward. He plans on bringing in some of his own people with some decisions made within the next week and then taking up to a month to fill out the full coaching roster.

Asked why he took this job, Rodriguez cited the University's commitment to the program, the solid support of the community and fans and, of course, the weather. He compared this situation to his time at West Virginia and said that he hopes to instill a "chip on the shoulder" mentality with both the players and coaching staff.

"Why not us. Why can't we win it all," he said. "My goal is to make this the best place in the southwest part of the country to come play football."

Rodriguez said he will focus his recruiting efforts primarily on Arizona, California, Texas, Louisiana and Florida but obviously didn't rule out recruits from the rest of the country. 

Rich Rod is known for being one of the innovators of the up-tempo, spread offense type of offense that's become more and more popular over the years. He promised that his teams won't be boring and that they will play hard.

"The huddle's biggest waste of time in football," Rodriguez said.

For more on the new Arizona football coach, visit AZ Desert Swarm.


Rich Rodriguez To Arizona: Three Things I Cannot Wait To See

The Arizona Wildcats have found their next head coach. What are we excited to see happen?


Rich Rodriguez Officially Named New Arizona Head Coach

It's official: the Arizona Wildcats have a new head coach for next season. Reports from earlier today indicating that former Michigan Wolverines head coach Rich Rodriguez will become Arizona's new head coach have been confirmed by Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne.

Rodriguez has experience in head coaching positions over the past 10 years, first with the West Virginia Mountaineers and then the Wolverines with mixed resuls. From 2001 to 2007, Rodriguez led the Mountaineers to no worse than a second-place finish in the Big East conference during each of the six seasons following his inaugural year as Mountaineers coach.

He became the Wolverines head coach in 2008 but failed to produce the same results that he had in West Virginia. Rodriguez's Wolverines never finished better than seventh in the Big Ten Conference during his three-year tenure, and he was let go after the end of the 2010 college football season. He has since been working with CBS.

Rodriguez now brings his coaching style and personality out west to Tucson, where he will help the Wildcats rebuild after the firing of former head coach Mike Stoops.

For more information on the Wildcats and new head coach Rich Rod, check out Arizona Desert Swarm and their take on the hiring.


Rich Rodriguez Brings Extensive Baggage To Arizona Coaching Job

The Arizona Wildcats are reportedly on the verge of hiring Rich Rodriguez, although nothing is official. If Rich-Rod is indeed the new man in town in Tucson, he comes with a somewhat checkered history as a college football head coach.

The good: Rodriguez is 120-84-2 in college. He's considered one of the great innovators on offense with his spread option attack. He enjoyed his greatest success with the West Virginia Mountaineers, taking them to four Big East titles and two BCS bowl bids in his final three seasons, and was one win away from a national championship bid in his final season.

When Rodriguez's offense gets going, it's one of the most exciting things to watch in college football.

The bad: Pretty much have to look at how Rodriguez performed at Michigan, leading them to two straight bowl-less seasons before bowing out with a 7-6 season. Rodriguez was never able to adjust to his spread system with Lloyd Carr's recruits, and just as he was starting to get the hang of things he was let go.

Additionally, Rodriguez had trouble dealing with the Michigan establishment, and he was not liked much by many of the older Michigan players (some ended up transferring). The Wolverines were also handed five major rules violations after failing to comply with practice times and conducting unofficial scrimmages. His departure from West Virginia to Michigan was hardly harmonious either.

There's definitely a lot of excitement that Rodriguez brings, but it's best to be cautious too.

To discuss the possibility of Rodriguez as Wildcats head coach, go to Arizona Desert Swarm.


Rich Rodriguez To Be Named Arizona Wildcats Head Coach

A deal appears to be in place, though nothing is official...yet.

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