Arizona hires Patriots assistant Fisch as head coach

FILE - In this Aug. 26, 2020, file photo, New England Patriots quarterback coach Jedd Fisch coaches players during NFL football training camp in Foxborough, Mass. Arizona is hiring New England Patriots assistant Jedd Fisch as its head coach, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. Fisch is filling the vacancy created when Arizona fired Kevin Sumlin earlier this month after the Wildcats finished the season winless, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the school was still preparing an official announcement. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool, File)

Arizona has hired New England Patriots assistant Jedd Fisch as its head coach.

The school announced Wednesday that Fisch will replace Kevin Sumlin, who was fired earlier this month after the Wildcats finished the season winless.

“We are tremendously excited to have Jedd Fisch come to Tucson to reinvigorate our football program and lead us to championships,” Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke said in a statement. “Jedd has a unique ability to teach the game of football effectively to his players and to inspire them with his passion. We conducted a comprehensive national search with an impressive array of candidates but in the end, Jedd is exactly what our program needs right now and I cannot wait to partner with him to move us forward.”

The 44-year-old arrives in the desert after bouncing between college football and the NFL.

Fisch was hired as New England’s quarterbacks coach under Bill Belichick earlier this year after two seasons with the Los Angeles Rams as senior offensive assistant and assistant offensive coordinator. He previously served as offensive coordinator at Jacksonville and served as an assistant with Seattle, Denver, Baltimore and Houston.

Fisch spent the 2017 season as UCLA’s offensive coordinator and served as interim coach the final two games after Jim Mora was fired. He also served as the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks/wide receivers coach under Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and had offensive coordinator stints with Miami and Minnesota.

A New Jersey native, Fisch did not play football in high school or college, but he landed a spot as a graduate assistant at Florida by leaving notes on the windshield of coach Steve Spurrier’s car.

“I am honored and humbled to lead the University of Arizona football program,” Fisch said. “I am 100% committed to building a program that all Wildcat fans will be proud to support. We will study hard, compete hard, recruit hard and be relentless in all aspects of our program.

He takes over an Arizona program in disarray.

The Wildcats never really got on track under Sumlin, winning five games in his first season and watching the win total drop each subsequent season.

Arizona ended the 2019 season on a seven-game losing streak and went 0-5 this year, capped by allowing the most points in the 121-history of the Territorial Cup in a 70-7 loss to rival Arizona State. Sumlin was fired the next day after going 9-20 in three seasons.

The program had a rash of transfers before the 2020 season, including four defensive starters. More players entered the transfer portal after the season ended, including starting quarterback Grant Gunnell.

Arizona managed to sign an 18-player recruiting during the early signing period despite Sumlin’s firing, but it was ranked 65th nationally by the 247 Sports composite.

 

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