Tucson, AZ – Rich Rodriguez rejoined the college football coaching ranks Tuesday, when he was formally introduced by the University of Arizona as its next head coach.
Rodriguez had been out of coaching since being fired from Michigan following the 2010 season, after three tumultuous seasons. But he was named Arizona's head coach Monday, when athletics director Greg Byrne announced the decision on Twitter.
On Tuesday, Rodriguez was back in charge of a football program. He said his choice to take the Arizona job boiled down to a few things -- that the school is located in a college community, that Arizona has good academics and a good athletics program, and that the football team can be nationally competitive.
"When this opportunity came up, there were maybe some other opportunities that came up and they were really neat," Rodriguez said. "For me, and making this hopefully my last stop, you have to go where you can win a national championship. I don't mind saying it. That's hard to do. That's really hard to do...but you can win one here."
Rodriguez had the attitude of "why not?" when speaking about competing for a national championship.
Arizona has not had 10 wins or more since 1998, when it went 12-1, but Rodriguez said the school has the pieces in place to make the football program a prominent one.
"I know I'll be undefeated for another six months or so, so I can brag," Rodriguez said. "But my goal is to make this the place in the southwestern, western part of the country to play football."
Rodriguez, 48, turned West Virginia into a prominent program during his seven- season tenure in Morgantown. The Mountaineers went 60-26 with four Big East championships from 2001-07, and won 11 games in each of Rodriguez's final three seasons.
But he left for Michigan after a messy divorce, which included a lawsuit filed by West Virginia for breach of contract, and didn't have the same level of success in Ann Arbor.
Michigan lost a school-record nine games during Rodriguez's first year in 2008. That was followed by a 5-7 record in '09 and a 7-6 finish in his swan song.
His bumpy stay at Michigan included NCAA sanctions that resulted in three years of probation stemming from violations of rules regarding practice and training time.
Rodriguez said Tuesday he was frustrated by the fact he wasn't given the chance to see his plan through at Michigan, and offered up the Wolverines' success this year -- they are 9-2 -- as proof that he could have succeeded.
"I thought year four, year five would be lights out," Rodriguez said.
After being fired, Rodriguez spent time away from coaching and began broadcasting. However, it wasn't too long before he was brought back into the coaching world.
Rodriguez said Byrne had a lot to do with how, and why, he ended up at Arizona.
He had known the athletic director prior to the hiring process, and said Tuesday that Byrne is a "coach's AD."
Rodriguez said the two met several times, including at his Michigan home and again in New York.
Byrne did his "due diligence" in searching for a coach, according to Rodriguez.
"We looked far and wide for our next coach and found what we were looking for in Rich Rodriguez," said Byrne in a release. "He's a talented, proven leader with outstanding success at the top level of college football."
The Arizona position had been open since Mike Stoops was fired on October 9 during his eighth season at the helm. Tim Kish has served as the interim head coach for Arizona, which is currently 3-8 and plays its season finale Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette.