The Arizona Wildcats football team is fresh off a double-digit victory, just their fourth in 90 years. After an abysmal three seasons under Kevin Sumlin and two poor seasons with Jedd Fisch at the helm, the latter led the Wildcats to the Alamo Bowl, beating the top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners 38-24. The Wildcats’ quick turnaround has resulted in Fisch gaining significant interest from another school, and on Sunday, the Washington Huskies have done enough to poach the Arizona bench boss. Per Matt Zenitz of 247Sports, Fisch has informed people at Arizona that he will head to Washington as their next head coach.
— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) January 14, 2024
The Wildcats will have a staff meeting later today, followed by a team meeting, per Zenitz. The fallout in Tucson could be significant, with players leaving the program via the transfer portal in the coming days.
Jedd Fisch: Three Seasons with Arizona Wildcats
After three losing seasons with former head coach Kevin Sumlin, the Arizona Wildcats turned to Jedd Fisch for the 2021 season. Arizona went just 1-11 in Fisch’s inaugural season, scoring an abysmal 17.2 points per game, the seventh-worst average in the FBS. Fisch used five different signal-callers, with only Jamarye Joiner throwing more touchdowns than interceptions.
Arizona improved in 2022, winning four more games but still missing out on bowl season. The Wildcats saw drastic improvements on offense, scoring 30.8 points per game, the 48th-best average in college football. However, they coughed up a grotesque 36.5 points per game on defense.
The Wildcats posted program-high numbers this season, scoring 34.6 points per game. Quarterbacks Noah Fifita and Jayden De Laura combined for 35 passing touchdowns against 11 picks. More importantly, the defense pulled a 180, allowing only 21.1 points per game, a top-30 mark in the nation. The Arizona football program bested the Oklahoma Sooners 38-24 in the Alamo Bowl, resulting in the team’s first double-digit winning season since 2014.
Washington Huskies: Replacing Kalen DeBoer
The Huskies, like the Wildcats, posted program-defining seasons in 2023. And like the Wildcats, the Huskies lost their head coach as a result. Kalen DeBoer left Seattle earlier this week for the Alabama Crimson Tide head coaching job. Longtime Alabama frontman Nick Saban retired, leaving a vacancy for one of the most coveted positions in football.
All eyes will be on the Wildcats players, including quarterback Noah Fifita and Tetairoa McMillan. The duo could follow Fisch to Washington.