NASHVILLE, TENN. — University of Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez will lead the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) in 2017 as president of the organization. Rodriguez, who moves up from first vice-president, succeeds outgoing president Lee Owens of Ashland University. He was elected president by members attending the Association’s 2017 convention this week in Nashville, Tenn.
In addition to Rodriguez, the 2017 AFCA officers include first vice-president Bill Cronin of Georgetown College (Ky.), second vice-president Frank Solich of Ohio University and third vice-president Mike Riley of the University of Nebraska.
Also serving on the Board in 2017: Gary Patterson, TCU; David Bailiff, Rice University; Pete Fredenburg, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor; Turner Gill, Liberty University; Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern University; Craig Bohl, University of Wyoming; Bronco Mendenhall, University of Virginia; Todd Knight, Ouachita Baptist University; David Cutcliffe, Duke University; Jeff McMartin, Central College (Iowa); Ken Niumatalolo, U.S. Naval Academy; Bret Bielema, University of Arkansas; Dan Mullen, Mississippi State University; Blake Anderson, Arkansas State University; Danny Rocco, University of Delaware; Bobby Kennedy, University of Iowa, ex officio member and chairman of the Assistant Coaches Committee; Van Malone, Southern Methodist University, ex officio member and chairman of the Minority Issues Committee; and Sam Knopik, The Pembroke Hill School (Mo.), ex officio member and chairman of the High School Committee. Paul Winters from Wayne State University (Mich.) and Mark McElroy from Saddleback College (Calif.) (ex officio Junior College member) are newly elected members of the Board this year, serving as a Division II and ex officio Junior College representative, respectively. AFCA Executive Director Todd Berry serves as secretary-treasurer of the organization.
Rodriguez completed his fifth season at Arizona and has a record of 36-29 with the Wildcats, including four bowl game appearances. He has an overall record of 156-113-2 in his 22 years as a head coach at Arizona, Michigan, West Virginia, Glenville State (W.Va.) and Salem (W.Va.). He guided Arizona to back-to-back 8-5 seasons in his first two years, along with two bowl appearances, before leading the Wildcats to a 10-4 record in 2014, a Pac-12 South Division title and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl. Rodriguez earned Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors for the 2014 season.
Prior to arriving at Arizona, Rodriguez was the head coach at Michigan from 2008 to 2010, leading the Wolverines to a 7-6 record and a Gator Bowl appearance in 2010. Rodriguez made a name for himself at his alma mater, West Virgina, from 2001 to 2007. He guided the Mountaineers to four Big East titles and a 60-26 overall record. West Virginia played in six straight bowl games in his seven seasons, including two BCS bowl berths, the 2005 Sugar Bowl and the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Rodriguez earned AFCA Regional Coach of the Year honors after the 2003 and 2007 seasons.
Before arriving at West Virginia, Rodriguez was the offensive coordinator for Tommy Bowden at Clemson from 1999 to 2000 and at Tulane from 1997 to 1998. He started his coaching career as a student assistant coach at West Virginia in 1985 after being a three-year letter-winner from 1982 to 1984. Rodriguez became the secondary coach at Salem University in 1986, then moved to defensive coordinator in 1987 before being named head coach in 1988 at age 24. After Salem disbanded the football program following the 1988 season, Rodriguez worked as a volunteer assistant at West Virginia in 1989 before becoming the head coach at Glenville State in 1990.
Rodriguez guided the Pioneers to a 43-28-2 record in his seven years as head coach, including four shared West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) titles and a trip to the 1993 NAIA national championship game. He was named NAIA National Coach of the Year in 1993, to go along with two WVIAC Coach of the Year honors.
Rodriguez was renamed to the AFCA Board of Trustees in 2015 after serving from 2005 to 2010. He and his wife, Rita, have two children, Raquel and Rhett.
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