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Arizona Wildcats Coaching Search: Some Thoughts On Potential Candidates

Arizona's search for their next head coach is underway and names from every corner of the nation are being thrown out as possible candidates. While there are many uncertainties within the situation, Wildcat fans should rest assured Greg Byrne is the right man to find the right coach for the job.

Here are a few thoughts and beliefs I have come away with nearly a week after Stoops was fired:

1. Chris Petersen is our guy:

Petersen has had plenty of chances to leave the surf turf for greener pastures and money has not been a huge factor to this point. This could all change in the coming months, especially with so much uncertainty surrounding their conference, the Big East and Conference USA.

What happens if Boise State goes undefeated this year and doesn't get a chance at the national championship? The Broncos have two undefeated seasons in the last four years and are yet to play for the whole shebang. The stability and chance at a national title could be enough to entice Petersen to make the move to Tucson.

Greg Byrne is going to do everything in his power to make this happen and he is an athletic director known for not taking 'no' as an answer. Until Petersen flat-out tells him he does not want the job, he will continue to be the primary target for Arizona football.

2. Mike Leach is a great coach, but he probably isn't coming to Tucson:

There is absolutely no denying Mike Leach's ability to coach, recruit and rebuild a program. His numbers at Texas Tech speak for themselves and the transition from Stoops to Leach would be seamless. That would certainly make life easier for the players and any potential recruits.

There are some issues to be dealt with, though.

Leach brings a lot of baggage along with him. While the alleged scandal with Craig James appeared to be terribly overblown, Leach was still known to be profane, vulgar and extremely intense on the sidelines. Is the program ready for another character with similar traits to that of Stoops? I'm not so sure.

3. This is a huge hire for UA football:

This is not a rebuilding job by any means.

There is already talent within the program and as many as 16 starters could return next season. Located in the middle of Texas and California, Arizona has a strong recruiting base established and the state of Arizona has been producing a lot of talent in recent years. The athletic department is dedicated to establishing UA as a yearly contender in the Pac-12 and nearly $20 million dollars of renovations have gone towards the new scoreboard and north end zone project.

All of this being said, Arizona needs to get the right man for the job. Sean Miller has been an excellent example of how the right hire can pay off immediately. Whether it be a Chris Petersen, a Mike Leach, a Mike Bellotti, a Rich Rodriguez, or a completely off-the-radar candidate, Greg Byrne needs to find a perfect fit.


For more on the 'Cats, check out AZ Desert Swarm.