The Arizona Wildcats made the hiring of Ricky Hunley official on Thursday, naming the UA legend as the program’s new defensive line coach.
The move not only adds some Arizona ties to head coach Jedd Fisch’s coaching staff—a big deal for a head coach whose hiring was met with a lot of skepticism from the fan base—it also gives the Wildcats an experienced coach who played the game at the highest level.
Hunley was an All-American and Hall of Fame linebacker and has over decades of coaching experience at the college and NFL levels.
And while this is his first coaching job since 2015 when he was the defensive line coach at Memphis, but he’s had stints with Missouri, Florida, the Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Football Team.
“I am very excited to welcome Ricky back as a coach at the University of Arizona,” Fisch said in a statement. “There’s not a better representative of the success, individually or as part of a team, than Ricky Hunley. I’ve known Ricky Hunley since 2001 when I was a graduate assistant for him at the University of Florida. I’ve always admired him as a player, coach and person as well as his passion for the game of football and the University of Arizona. I look forward to coaching with Ricky and watching him mentor and lead our student-athletes to success on and off the field.”
Hunley was one of the best players in UA history, amassing a program-record 566 tackles and 12 interceptions. His accolades include two All-American selections, three all-conference selections, a 1983 Pac-12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year award and, eventually, a College Football Hall of Fame enshrinement.
He went on to the be the 7th overall pick in the 1984 NFL and spent seven seasons in the league, including stints with the Denver Broncos, Phoenix Cardinals and Los Angeles Raiders.
“I am extremely excited to work with Coach Fisch and the Arizona Football staff,” Hunley said in a statement. “Working for the University of Arizona has always been my destination, and I can’t say enough how much I appreciate the love and support of my family, friends, football alumni, the University and the Wildcat Family. My goal is to Bear Down and be as good of a coach for the young men in the program now as I was as a player for this great University.”
The Wildcats are reportedly planning to hire former UA safety Chuck Cecil as the defensive backs coach.