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Arizona football: Rich Rodriguez discusses Chuck Cecil hire

Rodriguez said Cecil is not allowed to coach, and will mostly be doing “football administrative” things

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Media Day Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats announced the hire of UA legend Chuck Cecil on Friday, and on Sunday it became clearer what the Hall of Famer’s role will be with the program.

Head coach Rich Rodriguez said Cecil will do “a little bit of everything,” but mostly will be doing “football administrative things.”

Rodriguez mentioned Cecil will not be allowed to coach at Arizona, according to NCAA rules (Arizona has already maxed out the number of on-field coaches it can have on staff).

“There will be some administrative stuff, but I’m not hiring him to do administrative duties like what Matt [Dudek] and those guys are doing, per se,” Rodriguez said.

“He’s going to be doing more football administrative things. He’s not allowed to do the coaching part because of NCAA rules, but there’s a lot of football administrative things and football player development stuff that he can do and bring his expertise in it.”

Cecil returns to Arizona as one of the program’s most decorated players of all-time.

He was an All-American and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 1987, is a member of both the University Arizona and College Football Hall of Fames, and was a two-time member of the All-Pac-10 First Team.

He holds the school’s all-time record for interceptions (21).

After Cecil’s career at Arizona, he played in the NFL for seven seasons, and was a Pro Bowler in 1992. After his playing career ended, he coached in the NFL for 16 seasons, including a stint as the Tennessee Titans’ defensive coordinator in 2009 and 2010.

“He’ll get natural respect,” Rodriguez said. “He’s in the Hall of Fame, he’s an All-American here, he played in the NFL, but I think he’ll get even more respect when [the players] see him talk and work with them. Every athlete wants to be around people that will help them get better, both on and off the field. You can every highlight film we have has Chuck’s highlights, especially that 108-yard return for a touchdown against ASU. But I think the biggest advantage for us using him is his expertise in the football world. I think our guys will be excited to get know him.”

Rodriguez said he had communicated with Cecil about job openings before. However, Cecil was a member of the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams’ coaching staff up until 2016.

“We had an opening for player development and I kind of combined player development with an analyst role and I’ve been keeping in contact with Chuck anyway and I think he was looking at staying involved in it, so we’re excited about it,” Rodriguez said.

“He’s been a (defensive) coordinator in the NFL, obviously he loves Arizona, he’s got a lot of friends and people that he knows here in town, so he’s going to be a great addition to the staff.”

Rodriguez said Cecil will start “as soon as tomorrow” when the Wildcats hold their first practice of the season.


Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire