Sports Outside the Beltway

Tide Hires Rich Rodriguez

It’s a done deal: Alabama has hired Rich Rodriguez as its next head football coach.

The Birmingham NewsIan Rapoport posted this at 8:09 pm Central last night:

University of Alabama officials and West Virginia’s Rich Rodriguez have reached an agreement in principle for Rodriguez to become the Crimson Tide’s next head football coach, two sources close to the search told The Birmingham News tonight.

After Rodriguez’s representatives negotiated with Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore for most of today, Rodriguez has told Alabama officials he is ready to take the job offer he received this morning.

Sources close to the search said Rodriguez will make over $2 million per year with incentives and will have one of the highest-paid coaching staffs in the Southeastern Conference.

Paul Gattis of the Huntsville Times adds,

An official announcement is expected this morning. No news conference had been scheduled Thursday night.

The agreement comes 11 days after Mike Shula was fired after four seasons.

Rodriguez received a job offer from Alabama on Thursday morning. He and his wife, Rita, met with Alabama athletic director Mal Moore on Tuesday in New York while attending ceremonies surrounding the College Football Hall of Fame inductions.

Rodriguez, 42, is leaving his alma mater and his home state. He is a native of Grant Town, W.Va., and his wife is a native of Jane Lew, W.Va.

Known as “Coach Rod” in his home state, Rodriguez is an offensive innovator who will be expected to put a lot of points on the scoreboard each Saturday. His Mountaineer teams featured a no-huddle, spread offense that still emphasizes the running game.


Rodriguez’s assistant head coach is offensive line coach Rick Trickett, who coached at Auburn University under Terry Bowden from 1993 to 1998. It’s common for assistant coaches to follow the head coach to new jobs.

Brian McAlister posts this brief bio at Tide Corner:

Rich Rodriguez was born on May 24, 1963 in Grant Town, West Virginia.

Rodriguez played defensive back for West Virginia from 1981-84, recording 54 career tackles before graduating in 1986. He then served as a student assistant coach at West Virginia, defensive coordinator and head coach at Salem College, head coach at Glenville State College, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Tommy Bowden at Tulane and Clemson, before taking over as West Virginia’s head coach in 2000.

His overall record as a head coach is 84-58-2, 49-24 at West Virginia through the 2006 regular season.

Rodriguez is considered the pioneer/creator of the spread option offense. Every year, offensive coaching staffs from around the country have come to West Virginia to see how Rodriguez keeps his team one step ahead of defenses.

When Bear Bryant came to Alabama from Texas A&M in 1956, he famously said he was “comin’ home to Mama.” Rodriguez is doing the opposite, leaving the place he and his wife were born and raised and a program for which he played and has built into a national power. It’s an interesting move and I hope one he does not come to regret.

Rodriguez is WVU’s Bear Bryant:

Steve Harold, who used to work with Rodriguez at Glenville State in West Virginia, predicted Thursday night the state would be “shocked and upset” by the news. “I know a lot of people in my county have said if he leaves, they’re canceling their tickets. They won’t go to the games,” Harold said. “You walk into a grocery store anywhere here and you see cardboard, stand-up posters of Rich Rodriguez. He’s kind of become the face of the state.”

There are a lot of advantages to being at Alabama, even though West Virginia is the better program right now. Its supporters are fanatical and nobody is going to say No to him if he asks for more money for the coaching staff or new facilities. But he had a job for life at WVU. As Mike Shula discovered, it’s “What have you done for me lately?” at Alabama.

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Um, I don’t think Rodriguez is going to be the next coach at Alabama.

Just a hunch.

Posted by Joe | December 15, 2006 | 06:33 pm | Permalink

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