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.
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. ESPN first reported that Arizona was hiring Fisch.
The 44-year-old Fisch 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.
Fisch 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.