OXFORD, Miss. -- Rich Rodriguez, considered one of the top offensive minds in college football, has been named Ole Miss' offensive coordinator, head coach Matt Luke announced Monday.
A 32-year coaching veteran, Rodriguez brings 24 years of head coaching experience, including stints at West Virginia, Michigan and Arizona, and has been named conference coach of the year five times in three different leagues. Rodriguez's zone read concepts he invented more than two decades ago have since become a component of most modern-day college offenses.
With Rodriguez and new defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre, the Rebel staff includes two of the last five Pac-12 Coach of the Year honorees. There are now three Ole Miss coaches with Power Five head coaching experience, including Luke, and four with time as FBS head coaches, including offensive line coach Jack Bicknell.
"Part of building a successful program means surrounding our players with the most talented coaches, and I feel like we have done that with hiring of Mike Macintyre to lead our defense and now Rich Rodriguez to lead our offense," Luke said. "Rich has coached at the highest levels of college football and is one of the most innovative offensive minds in our sport. I couldn't be more excited to get to work with his experience, creativity and toughness as part of our team."
Rodriguez last served as head coach at Arizona from 2012-17, earning Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors in 2014 after leading the Wildcats to their first 10-win season in over 15 years. His career also includes three 10-win seasons at WVU.
"My family and I are really excited to join Coach Luke and the Ole Miss family," Rodriguez said. "I'm appreciative of the trust and confidence of Matt and look forward to helping him continue to build this great program. There are a lot of exciting things happening with Rebel Football, and I'm fortunate to be able to join this team."
In his six years at Arizona, Rodriguez helped the Wildcats establish themselves as one of the most explosive offensive programs in the Pac-12. Arizona tied or set more than 100 offensive school records, including single-game records for categories such as most points, total yards, rushing yards, passing yards and even biggest comeback. New all-time leaders were set for career rushing and all-purpose yardage, while the top freshman rushing and passing seasons were also rewritten under Rodriguez's tutelage.
Among the numerous accomplishments, Rodriguez led the Wildcats to 33 wins in his first four seasons, a tally that was the most in school history over a four-year period. Included were four consecutive bowl berths, another feat previously never accomplished at the school. Those four seasons all had one notable achievement in common: each earned a win over an Associated Press top-10 team.
In 2017, Rodriguez helped orchestrate a Wildcat offense that led the Pac-12 and finished top-15 nationally in rushing offense (309.3 ypg), total offense (489.5 ypg) and scoring (41.3 ppg). Arizona set school records in total points, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in 2017.
Rodriguez also helped mentor quarterback Khalil Tate, who was a 2017 Manning Award finalist and Davey O'Brien Award semifinalist after Tate led the FBS in yards per rush average (9.2) and finished seventh in the NCAA in rushing yards per game (128.3).
In 2016, Rodriguez was able to produce the Pac-12's top rushing attack, which churned out 235.0 yards per game, ninth-best in school history. The highlight was a season-ending blowout of rival Arizona State, in which the Wildcats set a school record with 511 rushing yards to claim the Territorial Cup championship for the second time in the last three seasons.
Rodriguez's most successful season in Tucson came during the 2014 season which was highlighted by a 10-4 record, a Pac-12 South Championship, a Fiesta Bowl berth and winning the Territorial Cup game against ASU. Arizona finished the regular season with 10 wins for only the third time in program history as Rodriguez was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year.
Prior to Arizona, Rodriguez served as head coach at Michigan from 2008 to 2010 where he once again tutored a young quarterback in Denard Robinson.
As a sophomore in 2010, Robinson set the single-season Division I FBS record for rushing yards by a quarterback and became the only player in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) history to both pass and rush for 1,500 yards. Robinson also broke the Big Ten Conference season record with 4,272 yards of total offense (2,570 yards passing and 1,702 yards rushing) and led the conference in rushing on his way to earning first-team All-America honors.
Rodriguez made a Division I statement as head coach at West Virginia from 2001-07, where he compiled a 60-26 record, won four Big East Conference titles and was a two-time Big East Coach of the Year.
Rodriguez's West Virginia teams were Big East Champions in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007 while appearing in two BCS bowls, the 2005 Sugar Bowl with a victory over Georgia for an 11-1 record and a victory over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl to finish 10-2 shortly after Rodriguez had left for Michigan.
Before accepting the position at West Virginia, Rodriguez served as offensive coordinator and associate head coach for Tommy Bowden at Clemson in 1999 and 2000, with the Tigers recording a 15-9 record in two seasons. He was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Bowden at Tulane for two years prior to that, 1997-98, when he helped lead the Green Wave to a 19-4 mark, including an undefeated 12-0 season with the Conference USA Champs and Liberty Bowl victors in 1998.
Prior to West Virginia, Rodriguez served as head coach at NAIA Glenville State. While at Glenville State, his teams won or shared four consecutive West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles and he was named WVIAC Coach of the Year in 1993 and 1994, as well as the NAIA Coach of the Year after leading his team to a national runner-up finish. He also was recognized by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association as the state College Coach of the Year for all sports in 1993. He led the Pioneers to the national playoffs twice and posted a 43-28-2 record.
Rodriguez got his full-time coaching career started at Salem College. While at Salem, he was a secondary coach and special teams coordinator in 1986 and assistant head coach and defensive coordinator in 1987. He became the youngest head coach in college football when appointed by Salem in 1988 at age 24. The school disbanded its football program the next year and he served as a volunteer assistant at West Virginia working with outside linebackers in 1989.
Rodriguez graduated from West Virginia in 1986, where he started as a walk-on in 1981 and became a three-year letterwinner as a defensive back from 1982-84. He added a master's degree from Salem in 1987. He is a native of Grant Town, West Virginia, and graduated from North Marion High School.
Rodriguez, 55, and his wife Rita have two children Raquel and Rhett.
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RODRIGUEZ COACHING CAREER
1985: West Virginia (SA)
1986: Salem (DB/ST)
1987: Salem (AHC/DC)
1988: Sale (HC)
1989: West Virginia (OLB)
1990-96: Glenville State (HC)
1997-98: Tulane (OC/QBs)
1999-2000: Clemson (OC/QBs)
2001-07: West Virginia (HC)
2008-10: Michigan (HC)
2012-17: Arizona (HC)