Rich Rodriguez Named Head Football Coach
From JSU Sports Information
In looking for a head coach that will lead the Jacksonville State football program to Football's Bowl Subdivision, the Gamecocks found an experienced winner from the game's highest level in Rich Rodriguez.
Athletics Director Greg Seitz formally introduced Rodriguez as the program's 28th head coach on Nov. 30 at a press conference in JSU Stadium attended by hundreds of reporters, fans and university leaders.
Rodriguez has a 163-119-2 overall record as a head coach and has been named conference coach of the year five times in three different leagues. He begins his JSU career ranked 16th among all active Division I head coaches in career wins and eighth among active FCS coaches.
The author of one of college football's most prolific offensive schemes, Rodriguez brings over 30 years of collegiate coaching experience and 24 as a head coach to Jacksonville State as it transitions out of FCS in 2022 before joining Conference USA for the 2023 season.
Jacksonville State is Rodriguez's fourth FBS head coaching job after stints at West Virginia (2001-07), Michigan (2001-07) and Arizona (2012-17). He led WVU to three 10-win seasons and was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2014 after leading the Wildcats to their first 10-win season in over 15 years.
His most previous stop was as the associate head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks Coach at the University of Louisiana Monroe, where Rodriguez was new head coach Terry Bowden's choice to lead the Warhawks' offense in rebuilding after ULM suffered a winless campaign in 2020. The Warhawks improved in every offensive category in 2021. He was the offensive coordinator at Ole Miss in 2019.
In his six seasons at Arizona, Rodriguez led the Wildcats to a 43-35 record and to five bowl games. They won the 2014 Pac-12 South Division title and advanced to the Fiesta Bowl, finishing the season with a 10-4 record, one of just three 10-win seasons in the program's history. He was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year at season's end.
His first four seasons at Arizona saw 33 wins by the Wildcats, the most in school history over a four-year period. The Wildcats also defeated a Top-10 team and advanced to a bowl game in each of those four seasons, the only time either of those feats have happened in school history, as well.
Rodriguez helped establish the Wildcats as one of the most explosive offensive programs in the Pac-12. During his tenure, Arizona tied or set more than 100 offensive school records and all-time leaders were set for career rushing and all-purpose yardage.
Before going to Arizona, Rodriguez spent three seasons at Michigan, where he 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 first player in NCAA history to both pass and rush for 1,500 yards on his way to earning first-team All-America honors.
Rodriguez was 60-26 in seven seasons at West Virginia, where he won the Big East Conference championship four times (2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007) and was named the Big East's Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2005. The Mountaineers made two appearances in the Bowl Championship Series - 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 was Tommy Bowden's offensive coordinator and associate head coach at Clemson in 1999 and 2000, when the Tigers recorded a 15-9 record over two seasons. He went to Clemson from Tulane, where he was Bowden's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 1997 and 1998. He led the Green Wave to a 19-4 mark, including an undefeated 12-0 season, Conference USA Championship and Liberty Bowl victory in 1998.
Bowden hired Rodriguez at Tulane after a seven-year stint as the head coach at NAIA Glenville State in Glenville, West Virginia. His Glenville State 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.
His head coaching career started earlier than most in 1998, when Salem College made the 24-year-old Rodriguez the youngest head coach in college football after he'd served the previous two seasons as an assistant at the school.
A 1986 graduate of West Virginia and native of Grant Town, West Virginia, Rodriguez started at defensive back as a walk-on in 1981 and became a three-year letterwinner as a defensive back for the Mountaineers from 1982-84.
Rodriguez and his wife Rita have two children, Raquel and Rhett.