It’s official: Rod Smith will not be returning to the Arizona Wildcats coaching staff under Kevin Sumlin.
Smith was hired as Illinois’ offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Friday.
“Rod Smith brings terrific and exciting offensive experience to our staff at Illinois,” Illini head coach Lovie Smith said in a statement. “His background and development of dual-threat quarterbacks and multiple-threat offenses is the direction we are going here. Rod has developed explosive quarterback play and offensive performance at each of his coaching stops.”
What a great 6 years have been at Arizona. A heartfelt thank you to all the players, coaches, administration, friends and fans of Tucson. My family has been incredibly blessed with our time in Tucson and look forward the next chapter. Thank you again and #BEARDOWN for life— Rod Smith (@BearDownRSmith) January 19, 2018
The move is not surprising as it was reported Thursday that Smith was likely headed for Illinois.
Smith was Arizona’s co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach all throughout Rich Rodriguez’s tenure in Tucson, and so his departure was expected once Rodriguez was fired.
This will be Smith’s third stop in the Big Ten. He was co-offensive coordinator at Indiana in 2011, and coached quarterbacks at Michigan in 2008-10 (also under Rodriguez).
It was also recently reported that Arizona assistant Calvin Magee will be New Mexico’s new offensive coordinator.
Reports suggest Sumlin is expected to hire Noel Mazzone as his new offensive coordinator at Arizona. It is unclear who will coach the quarterbacks.
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire