It’s been a little more than a week since the Arizona Wildcats fired football coach Kevin Sumlin, deciding to cut bait after only nine wins across three seasons. Since then a heap of names have been linked to the opening, many of whom still had games left to be played.
Now that conference championship weekend is over, though, things could start speeding up in Arizona’s search. And according to Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated, San Jose State’s Brent Brennan is at the top of the list.
Thamel tweeted that Brennan’s name is “picking up traction” thanks to his connection to the UA program and his recent success. Brennan, who was a graduate assistant at Arizona in 2000 under Dick Tomey, later serving on Tomey’s staff at San Jose State from 2005-09, has led the Spartans to a 7-0 record and a Mountain West Conference title with Saturday’s win over Boise State.
The 47-year-old Brennan was part of Tomey’s final Arizona staff while his brother, Brad Brennan, was completing his UA career as a wide receiver.
Though he didn’t specifically say he was looking for a coach with UA ties, on Friday Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke said the new coach will need to embrace the program’s past accomplishments.
“I think it’s critical that a person understand our values, that they understand our history, they understand our tradition,” Heeke said. “I believe there are people that can develop a plan, incorporate an assistant coaches group, have a philosophy that is similar to those that have been here before that have seen success. So I believe that’s important, so yes there needs to be some recognition of the power that exists here and tapping into that power of our past that will be important going forward.”