One appealing aspect of the Arizona Wildcats hiring Kevin Sumlin as their new head coach is his existing relationship with UA defensive coordinator Marcel Yates.
Yates was Sumlin’s co-defensive coordinator for two years (2012-13) when the latter was the head coach at Texas A&M. So many believed Sumlin would retain Yates if hired by Arizona and that appears to be exactly what will happen.
FOX Sports’ Bruce Feldman reported Sunday that Yates will remain Arizona’s defensive coordinator under Sumlin, who UA has reportedly tabbed to be its next head coach.
SOURCE: New #Arizona head coach Kevin Sumlin will retain DC Marcel Yates (they worked together at A&M) as Cats defensive coordinator. Noel Mazzone is expected to be the new OC. RBs coach Clarence McKinney also is expected to join staff.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 14, 2018
Feldman also reports Noel Mazzone, who was Sumlin’s offensive coordinator the last two season at A&M and previously was at UCLA, will have that same position at Arizona. (Here is a good writeup on Mazzone.)
Sumlin will reportedly bring running backs coach Clarence McKinney to Tucson, too.
Yates has been well-regarded in Tucson since arriving from Boise State in 2016, especially by UA’s players who vouched for him to get the head coaching job.
Keeping him in place not only allows Arizona to keep continuity among its young, but promising, defense but should help UA maintain its 2018 recruiting class as well.
If Yates is indeed retained, it will be interesting to see which other members of UA’s defensive staff stick around.