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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

December 6, 2011 at 8:55 AM

UA, WSU hires turn up the heat at Arizona State, UCLA

Rich Rodriguez, the new football coach at Arizona, was featured in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, allowing SI access to his first 48 hours as head man. Meanwhile, I’m in Pullman, about to see Washington State’s noon introduction of Mike Leach as the successor to Paul Wulff.

Those were two splashy hires — just think of them in terms of the lesser buzz created when their predecessors were named. Arizona selected Stoops in 2003 as an assistant from Bob Stoops’ staff at Oklahoma, and Wulff was head coach at Eastern Washington when he was tapped in 2007.

No doubt it’s raised the temperature at the other two Pac-12 schools looking for a coach. Arizona State, a place that seems to struggle every time to get it right, apparently couldn’t attract Houston’s Kevin Sumlin and looks to be focused either on Southern Mississippi’s Larry Fedora or SMU’s June Jones.

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic in Phoenix writes that 20 former players met at a Tempe hotel Sunday night, calling themselves the “ASU Legacy Committee,” and while it has a goal of restoring the Sun Devils’ name in football, it doesn’t exactly sound like a group with heavy confidence behind athletic director Lisa Love.

“In the last 30 years, ASU football has failed to meet the level of success required to compete in the Pac-12 or on a national stage on a consistent basis,” said the group’s mission statement. “Performing at this level will irreparably harm the football program and the athletic department itself, hence a change in coaching leadership has been sought. However, communication with its football alumni, concerning the new hire process, has not been understood or shared.”

The group went on to ask that ASU reach out to the football alumni so that its concerns can be heard.

At UCLA, the Bruins have apparently sought Boise State’s Chris Petersen, who gave them the no-thanks that he gives everybody, as well as Al Golden of Miami. They may have also looked into Houston’s Sumlin. But the LA Times says Golden wasn’t interested, and now they’re talking about Jim Mora, the ex-Seahawks coach, who I think would be a good get.

They’re drawing the expected scorn from LA Times columnist T.J. Simers, who wrote of the UCLA athletic director: “You have to admire (Dan) Guerrero, who seems intent on finding everyone in the country who doesn’t want the UCLA job.”

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