Rich Rodriguez’s career is heading in a questionable direction. A few years after being the head coach at Arizona (where he was fired following allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct, and creating a hostile work environment), with a winning record and five bowl games in six years, he is set to become the offensive coordinator at Louisiana-Monroe.
ULM recently hired former Auburn head coach Terry Bowden, who was most recently the head coach at Akron from 2012-18. Bowden served in a graduate assistant role at Clemson over the last few seasons, but few expected him to land another head coaching job.
Rodriguez last coached at Ole Miss, serving as offensive coordinator under Matt Luke in 2019. He took a year off after Luke and his staff were let go, replaced by Lane Kiffin. Now he’s back, in the dregs of the Sun Belt as an assistant.
Dennis Dodd reported the news this evening. Shortly thereafter, ULM confirmed it, announcing that Rodriguez is joining the staff, and his son Rhett, a quarterback, will transfer in from Arizona.
Rich Rodriguez is the new offensive coordinator at Louisiana-Monroe.
— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) January 12, 2021
— ULM Football (@ULM_FB) January 12, 2021
Terry Bowden and Rich Rodriguez have never coached together, but they have very similar football background. Notably, both are football alumni of West Virginia, Bowden playing running back from 1977-78, and Rich Rod playing defensive back from 1981-84.
Bowden coached at DII Salem from 1983-85, a staff that Rodriguez joined in 1986. Rodriguez coached under Bowden’s brother Tommy Bowden from 1999-2000. They clearly have a lot of familiarity.
It’s certainly an aggressive move by Bowden, who was seen as something of an underwhelming hire, and one that potentially blocks an eager young coach from getting a shot to lead a program at the Sun Belt level. We’ll see if he can parlay this back into the head coaching ranks, likely a goal of his, though it may be very difficult given the troubling allegations that cost him the Arizona job.
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