We’ve seen more high-profile coaches fired so far this year than most expected from this college football season. Given the struggles at Arizona football under Kevin Sumlin, his dismissal wasn’t too shocking. Among the candidates listed for the job is one of the highest-profile defensive coordinators in the country, Oklahoma’s Alex Grinch.
The 40-year old Grinch has been at a few of college football’s biggest programs in recent years. After a stint as safeties coach at Mizzou, he helped turn Mike Leach’s Washington State defense into a competitive unit as its coordinator. Had Leach left the Cougars in 2017, when he was looking at jobs every offseason, Leach might’ve taken over that program.
Grinch jumped to Ohio State the following year instead, and was poached by Lincoln Riley to try and improve the struggling Sooners defense a year later. He has made progress there, especially this year, and may land that Power Five head coaching opportunity this year.
According to 247Sports Arizona editor Jason Scheer, Alex Grinch is “likely” to interview for the Wildcats job in the next two days. He takes over a program with some promise, that absolutely folded under Kevin Sumlin, who was just 9-20 after taking over, following his dismissal by Texas A&M. The program is now on a 12-game losing streak, and his tenure ended with a 70-7 loss to rival Arizona State in the Territorial Cup.
Oklahoma defensive coordinator Alex Grinch is set to interview for the Arizona jobhttps://t.co/BepkpPSBUi
— Jason Scheer (@JasonScheer) December 19, 2020
The Arizona job has drawn some pretty big names so far in the search. Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo nearly got the job the last time it opened, before then-star quarterback Khalil Tate basically nuked his candidacy on Twitter due to concerns over the triple option. He is expected to be involved once again.
Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin and Arizona reportedly have “mutual interest.” Harsin is one of the biggest names at the G5 level, and had been a candidate for the Oregon job a few seasons ago, among others. Recently, he’s campaigned to get Boise State out of the Mountain West, amid frustrations with the league’s late decision to start play this year, as well as the ongoing clashes between BSU and the MWC over the Broncos’ special TV arrangement. Perhaps those frustrations could lead Harsin to finally making the jump to the Power Five.
We’ll have more as the Arizona football coaching search continues to take shape.
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