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Antoine Cason wants to be Arizona football’s next head coach—and his vision for the program is interesting

arizona-wildcats-school-hall-of-fame-antoine-cason-taryne-mowatt-joan-bonvicini-2019 Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Despite not having any college coaching experience, former UA cornerback Antoine Cason is throwing his name into the Arizona Wildcats head football coaching search.

He knows that sounds crazy, but in a guest column published in the Arizona Daily Star, he outlined why he believes he is the best man for the job.

I encourage you to read Cason’s full letter here, but here are some of the key parts of his pitch:

  • Cason, 34, will willingly be the lowest paid head coach in the Pac-12 so that he has enough funding to assemble the best assistant coaching staff in the conference.
  • While he was not willing to give too many details on the staff, Cason said it would include former Hawaii head coach and USC, UCLA and Utah offensive coordinator Norm Chow, 74, as UA’s OC, Super Bowl champions, and “one of the best up-and-coming defensive coordinators in college football who is also an excellent recruiter.”
  • Cason thinks he can restore the passion and pride of the program because he is willing to put all of his energy into the job and nobody embodies what it means to be a Wildcat more than him. He was under-recruited, but went on to be an All-American, Jim Thorpe Award winner, and first-round NFL draft pick.
  • Cason said that he would stay at Arizona until the day he retires.
  • Cason said he has had an “initial call” with athletic director Dave Heeke, and hopes to have a sit-down with him and University of Arizona leadership.

Hiring someone with no coaching experience would be a huge risk, to be sure, but Cason’s proposal is at least interesting and there is no doubt that he would be passionate about the position.

People often say Arizona football can’t operate like everyone else if it’s going to be successful, and this certainly would make it one of the most unique programs in the country.

Pac-12 schools normally can’t compete with other major-conferences when it comes to assistant coaching salaries because they don’t generate nearly as much revenue, but Arizona could be the exception if it executes Cason’s vision.

It sort of reminds me of what Herm Edwards is trying to do at ASU. Edwards hadn’t coached in college football in decades when he was hired in 2017, but he surrounded himself with talented assistants and delegates a lot of responsibilities to them.

One of the best traits a leader can have is knowing what they don’t know.

It’s still too early to tell if that experiment has paid off for the Sun Devils, but they have had far more success with Edwards than the Wildcats did with an uber-experienced college head coach in Kevin Sumlin, who was hired in the same offseason.