Tomorrow night, Arizona will conclude Year 2 under head coach Kevin Sumlin when they travel to Tempe as a 2-touchdown underdog to Arizona State. Barring an upset, Arizona will finish 4-8, one year removed from going 5-7 in Sumlin’s first season in Tucson.
A loss would close out the season with seven straight losses for the Wildcats.
Sumlin was hired following Rich Rodriguez’s six seasons at the helm, during which time Rich Rod only had one season in which they failed to win 7 or more games.
An in-season firing of his defensive coordinator earlier this year was the first sign of trouble, then came a reported fist fight among the staff, followed by a staff member being dismissed and the outward signs of a mess were all present. Within the profession there were whispers of further issues as well and within the past month there was growing talk that Sumlin and his staff might be bought out following the season.
Sources told FootballScoop within the past two weeks that Arizona AD Dave Heeke was quietly speaking with agents about the market should they decide to make a move. Initially, we heard the response about the potential opening was not very strong.
This afternoon, sources tell FootballScoop that based off of what Heeke heard about the potential candidate pool combined with both the boosters’ and the university’s lack of desire to devote money to a coaching change at this time, we are told it is more likely than not that Kevin Sumlin is given the mandate to return and fix things heading into 2020.
Could something such as an embarrassing loss at Arizona State change things? Perhaps. Could an off-the-field situation change things? Perhaps. At this time though, sources tell us Heeke is hoping to not have to admit failure with this hire and keep working towards fixing Arizona football.
As always, for all the latest coaching job information stay tuned to The Scoop.