Dec 11, 2020; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats head coach Kevin Sumlin against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the Territorial Cup at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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Arizona fires Sumlin after 12 straight losses

Arizona fired coach Kevin Sumlin on Saturday, a day after the Wildcats were steamrolled, 70-7, by rival Arizona State.

Arizona (0-5) has lost a school-worst 12 consecutive games. Sumlin went 9-20 in three seasons at the helm.

“When we hired Kevin three years ago, we had very high hopes for our football program. Unfortunately, we simply have not seen the results and upward trajectory in our program that we needed to, and I believe now is the time for a change in leadership,” Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke said in a statement. “I thank Kevin for his service to the University of Arizona and wish him the very best in the future.

“Our attention now turns to finding the next head coach at the University of Arizona, while we continue to support our student-athletes, who have sacrificed so much since returning to campus this summer. We will cast a wide net to identify and recruit a coach who shares our vision, our values and our passion for winning.”

Arizona said it would honor the terms of Sumlin’s five-year contract. His buyout is $7.5 million, according to multiple reports.

Defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads, the former coach at Iowa State, was named interim coach. It’s possible that the Wildcats will have a game next weekend.

The Wildcats went 5-7 in 2019 in Sumlin’s first season before starting 4-1 in his second campaign. But the 35-30 victory at Colorado on Oct. 5, 2019 would be his last at Arizona.

The Wildcats lost their final seven games last season with all the setbacks coming by double digits. Four of the losses were by 24 or more points.

This season, Arizona let a late slip away in the opener against Southern California, falling 34-30. It lost its next three games by an average of 15.7 points before being shellacked by the Sun Devils.

Overall, Sumlin, 56, has a 95-63 record in 13 seasons as a head coach at Houston (2008-11), Texas A&M (2012-17) and Arizona.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
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