Let it never be said that Tom Jurich is a man without a plan. Just hours after losing Charlie Strong to Texas, the Louisville athletics director has secured Arizona's Rich Rodriguez as the Cardinals' next head coach, sources told FootballScoop on Sunday.
To put in perspective just how rare this move is - and how high the Louisville job is risen - understand this: only eight coaches have voluntarily left a Pac-12 job in the BCS era. Five took NFL jobs, and the other three left for Notre Dame (Tyrone Willingham), Alabama (Mike Price) and USC (Steve Sarkisian).
Shocking as it is, the move gets Rodriguez back into his comfort zone - the Eastern time zone. The West Virginia graduate coached at Salem (W. Va.) University, Glenville State (W. Va.), Tulane, Clemson and Michigan in addition to two stints with his alma mater before trekking to Tucson.
Louisville is 23-3 over the past two seasons and 134-66 in the BCS era. That success, coupled with a powerhouse basketball program, has allowed the school to climb from Conference USA to the American (née Big East) to the ACC, where the Cardinals will debut in 2014.
Rodriguez went 16-10 in two seasons at Arizona, posting back-to-back 7-5 regular seasons with wins in the New Mexico and AdvoCare V100 bowls to close each year. In addition to the on-the-field turnaround, stadium and facilities upgrades allow Rodriguez to leave the Arizona program in a much better place than he found it. Rodriguez is 136-94-2 overall as a head coach and 91-58 in a dozen seasons as an FBS head coach.
The departure of Rodriguez means Arizona will be the 18th FBS school to change head coaches from 2013 to 2014 and third Pac-12 school, joining USC (Sarkisian) and Washington (Chris Petersen). The Wildcats join Penn State, Georgia Southern and Massachusetts as the only vacant FBS head coaching positions.
As always, we will have more updates as they become available.