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Marcel Yates named Arizona’s interim head coach

Keeping the defensive players happy

In the wake of Rich Rodriguez being relieved of his duties as Arizona Wildcats head coach, the team has turned inward to keep a little bit of stability.

Defensive coordinator Marcel Yates will serve as the team’s interim head coach, first reported by Michael Lev of the Arizona Daily Star.

This move will likely be a favorable one in the locker room, as many Arizona defensive players have been tweeting to athletic director Dave Heeke asking him to make Yates the new head coach.

Yates was hired as the Arizona defensive coordinator on Jan. 19, 2016. He was originally the linebackers coach, but in 2017, he was moved to his more natural position group, the cornerbacks.

He played cornerback at Boise State, served as an assistant coach there from 2003-11, and was the Broncos’ defensive coordinator in 2014 and 2015. Yates also served as defensive coordinator at Texas A&M in 2012 and 2013 under Kevin Sumlin, who is also a top candidate to ultimately replace Rodriguez.

It’s obvious that this is a move to provide some stability as Arizona looks to finalize its 2018 recruiting class. 16 recruits have already signed during the new Decemeber signing period, but a couple of big recruits are still out there like local Tucson quarterback Jamarye Joiner and Las Vegas defensive end Adam Plant.

It will be an interesting time for Arizona and Heeke. What Yates’ role right now will be is unclear, but it’s obvious he was the best assistant to oversee things as the coaching search plays out.