Nov 27, 2021; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils former defensive end Terrell Suggs in attendance against the Arizona Wildcats at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Ex-NFL star Terrell Suggs facing assault charge

Former NFL star Terrell Suggs was arrested on an assault charge Tuesday night in Arizona, TMZ Sports reported.

Suggs, 41, was booked into the Maricopa County jail on one count of assault and one count of offense against public order, a spokesperson for the Scottsdale Police Department told TMZ Sports. He was later released.

The charges reportedly are related to an incident on March 10, but no further details were available Wednesday morning.

Suggs, who played college football at Arizona State, was the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2003 and the Defensive Player of the Year in 2011.

His Hall of Fame-caliber numbers include 139 sacks, 37 forced fumbles, 15 fumble recoveries, seven interceptions and 895 tackles across 244 games (226 starts) with the Baltimore Ravens (2003-18), Arizona Cardinals (2019) and Kansas City Chiefs (2019).

A seven-time Pro Bowl selection, Suggs was a first-round pick (10th overall) by Baltimore in 2003 and won Super Bowl championships with the Ravens (SB XLVII) and Chiefs (SB LIV).

–Field Level Media

University of Missouri Curator Daryl Chatman, left, and System President Mun Choi present new athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois with a jersey Wednesday after she was formally introduced at the Walsworth Family Columns Club.

20210811 033a Mu Athletic Director Reed Francois Press Conf

Report: Arizona set to name Desiree Reed-Francois new AD

Arizona is set to name Missouri athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois to the same position in Tucson, ESPN reported Monday.

Reed-Francois will sign a five-year contract with Arizona, per the report. She would replace Dave Heeke, who was fired last month after seven years and reportedly leaving the athletic department in dire straits.

Arizona is facing a deficit of $177 million, in part due to more than $80 million the athletics department has borrowed from the university, according to ESPN. Part of the issue was a $55 million loan received amid the COVID pandemic that the university was having trouble paying off.

Reed-Francois, who graduated from Arizona law school in 1997, turned Missouri’s athletics operating deficit into a $15 million surplus in 2022, in part due to her fundraising prowess, per the report. Reed-Francois will also oversee Arizona’s transition from the Pac-12 to the Big 12 in the 2024-25 academic year.

Reed-Francois, 51, has been at Missouri since 2021 after working as the AD at UNLV from 2017-21.

Arizona fired Heeke one week after he hired Brent Brennan as the Wildcats’ football coach on Jan. 16 to replace Jedd Fisch, who left to take the Washington job.

According to the Action Network, Heeke was let go because of “financial & operational mismanagement, resulting in an athletic department financial ‘disaster,’ loss of major donors & mishandling of former (football) coach Jedd Fisch’s contract.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 25, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats quarterback Jayden de Laura (7) against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the Territorial Cup at Mountain America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Transfer QB Jayden de Laura leaves Texas State

Transfer quarterback Jayden de Laura has left Texas State, one week after enrolling.

The school confirmed in a brief statement that de Laura withdrew, and the news came soon after de Laura settled a lawsuit regarding an alleged sexual assault case from 2018.

de Laura, one of two people sued in the 2021 civil case, was a minor when the alleged incident occurred in Hawaii, where he went to high school. He went on to play at Washington State and Arizona, and he entered the transfer portal this month after losing his starting job with the Wildcats.

As news of the settlement spread via the Texas State student newspaper, de Laura and the case drew attention, with students planning a Friday protest over his addition to the team.

Head coach G.J. Kinne told the campus publication that his staff reviewed the quarterback’s past before offering him a spot on the team.

“First, Jayden never pled guilty or was convicted of criminal charges, and he recently settled a civil case from an incident that occurred in 2018 when he was a minor in the state of Hawaii,” said Kinne in a statement before news of de Laura’s withdrawal. “During the recruitment process, our coaching staff visited with several of Jayden’s former coaches from his two previous schools, Washington State University and the University of Arizona, as well as others that know him closely. Each person not only spoke highly of his character but how he has developed into the man he is today.”

de Laura was projected to start at quarterback for Texas State, and after his commitment, incumbent starter T.J. Finley said he intended to transfer.

Finley, who was 8-5 in 2023 as the Bobcats’ starter, has transferred to Western Kentucky. It will be his fourth program after also playing at LSU and Auburn.

–Field Level Media

Dec 28, 2023; San Antonio, TX, USA; The Arizona Wildcats logo in the end zone at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona parting with AD Dave Heeke amid financial woes

Arizona is parting ways with athletic director Dave Heeke and promoting former Wildcats softball coach Mike Candrea to fill the role on an interim basis, the university announced Monday.

The move, effective Feb. 2, ends a nearly seven-year tenure for Heeke, who hired Brent Brennan as the Wildcats’ football coach on Jan. 16 to replace Jedd Fisch.

Arizona president Robert C. Robbins wrote in a statement, “I want to thank Dave for his outstanding efforts in leading our athletics program through a period of significant change. He helped get our men’s and women’s basketball programs and our football program on a strong trajectory, oversaw the success of several of our sports teams and greatly enhanced the student-athlete experience. Dave always displayed the highest integrity, and I am appreciative of his partnership and dedication.”

According to the Action Network, Heeke was let go because of “financial & operational mismanagement, resulting in an athletic department financial ‘disaster,’ loss of major donors & mishandling of former coach Jedd Fisch’s contract.”

Robbins told the university’s board of regents in November that the athletic department was struggling financially, and “with the situation we find ourselves in with the (dissolution of the) Pac-12, that situation may not get better before it gets worse.”

Part of the issue was a $55 million loan received amid the COVID pandemic that the university was having trouble paying off.

Robbins told the Arizona Daily Star at the time that cutting some of the school’s sports teams was under consideration, but ruled that out earlier this month.

Heeke arrived at Arizona after serving as Central Michigan’s athletic director for 11 years. He replaced current Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne in 2017.

Heeke led a number of coaching searches that included hiring Fisch, then the New England Patriots’ quarterback coach, to replace Kevin Sumlin after the 2020 season.

Fisch recently left the Wildcats to fill the Washington head-coaching vacancy. During his time with Arizona, Fisch went 1-11 in his first year before finishing 5-7 in 2022 and then guiding the Wildcats to a 10-3 mark in 2023.

Heeke also brought in Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd to take over the men’s basketball program in 2021, replacing longtime Wildcats coach Sean Miller. Lloyd has gone 75-15 with Arizona, leading the Wildcats to the Pac-12 tournament title in both full seasons as head coach.

–Field Level Media

Basha quarterback Demond Williams poses for pictures after signing his letter of intent to play for University of Arizona during the NLI signing at Basha High School in Chandler on Dec. 20, 2023.

Four-star QB Demond Williams flips from Arizona to Washington

Demond Williams, a four-star quarterback prospect in the Class of 2024, is following coach Jedd Fisch from Arizona to Washington.

Williams previously committed to the Wildcats but announced Sunday that he will play for the national runner-up Huskies next year.

Williams, a native of Chandler, Ariz., told On3 the “family feel that was brought over from Arizona” by Fisch to Washington was part of his decision to flip.

Listed anywhere between 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-11, Williams was the No. 16 quarterback in the 247Sports composite rankings for the 2024 recruiting cycle.

His move is the latest ripple effect of the retirement of Alabama legendary coach Nick Saban. Kalen DeBoer left Washington to take the Alabama job, prompting the Huskies to hire Fisch after he led Arizona to a stellar 10-3 season and an Alamo Bowl win over Oklahoma in 2023.

–Field Level Media

Nov 25, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats head coach Jedd Fisch against the Arizona State Sun Devils in the first half of the Territorial Cup at Mountain America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Washington hires Arizona coach Jedd Fisch to replace Kalen DeBoer

Arizona’s Jedd Fisch agreed Sunday to a reported seven-year, $54.25 million deal to become the new coach at Washington.

The school confirmed the hiring Sunday evening but didn’t divulge financial figures.

Fisch reportedly was slated to inform Arizona coaches and players during a team meeting that he is departing.

Fisch replaces Kalen DeBoer, who took the Alabama job on Friday. DeBoer guided the Huskies to the College Football Playoff national title game, where they lost to Michigan 34-13 on Monday.

Fisch, 47, coached the Wildcats to a 10-3 record and a No. 11 final ranking in the AP poll this season. Arizona finished the season with seven consecutive victories, including a 38-24 win over Oklahoma in the Alamo Bowl.

It marked just the fourth time the Wildcats won 10 or more games in a season.

Overall, Fisch went 16-21 in three seasons with the Wildcats. His first team went 1-11 in 2021 before he won five games the following year and made another jump this season.

Among Fisch’s past coaching stints was a one-year stay (2010) as the Seattle Seahawks’ quarterbacks coach. He was the New England Patriots’ quarterbacks coach for the 2020 season before Arizona hired him.

DeBoer went 25-3 in two seasons with the Huskies. Offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb was hopeful of being promoted to head coach but announced Saturday night that he “will not be the next head coach at the University of Washington.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 28, 2023; San Antonio, TX, USA;  Arizona Wildcats quarterback Noah Fifita (11) throws a pass in the first half against the Oklahoma Sooners at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

No. 14 Arizona overtakes No. 12 Oklahoma to win Alamo Bowl

No. 14 Arizona forced six turnovers and got the go-ahead touchdown on a 57-yard pass to Jacob Cowing, stunning No. 12 Oklahoma with a 38-24 comeback victory in the Alamo Bowl on Thursday in San Antonio.

Wildcats safety Gunner Maldonado intercepted a pass and recovered two fumbles, the second of which he returned 87 yards for a game-changing score late in the third quarter.

That touchdown with two seconds left in the third quarter and subsequent two-point conversion pass from Noah Fifita to Montana Lemonious-Craig cut Oklahoma’s lead to 24-21 — just as it seemed the Sooners were about to add to an 11-point edge.

Fifita passed for 354 yards for Arizona (10-3), which won its seventh consecutive game, its longest streak since the 1998 season. The Wildcats reached 10 wins in a season for the fourth time in school history.

Oklahoma true freshman quarterback Jackson Arnold, making his first start in the wake of Dillon Gabriel’s transfer, passed for 361 yards and two touchdowns. However, he was intercepted three times and lost a late fumble on a sack after the Wildcats took a 31-24 lead with 5:28 left on Cowing’s touchdown.

Arizona then added a 19-yard touchdown run by DJ Williams, ending the game by scoring 25 unanswered points in the final 15:02.

Oklahoma had roared back from a 13-0, first-half deficit and was up 24-13 when momentum changed quickly.

Dalton Johnson popped the ball out of the hands of receiver Jalil Farooq, and Maldonado grabbed it and raced down the left sideline for his 87-yard fumble return.

Martell Irby intercepted Arnold on the next play from scrimmage, setting up Arizona at the Oklahoma 11. The Sooners defense stiffened, though, forcing the Wildcats into a game-tying, 37-yard field goal.

When the Wildcats got the ball back after a punt, they drove 95 yards, capped by Fifita’s scramble and TD pass to Cowing. Cowing caught seven passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Teammate Tetairoa McMillan made 10 receptions for 160 yards.

Arnold completed 26 of 45 passes. Oklahoma outgained Arizona 562-383 but was undone by the six turnovers, which led to 28 points.

–Field Level Media

Arizona Wildcats quarterback Noah Fifita throws downfield against Oregon State. Mandatory Credit: Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports

Freshman QB, Arizona focus on ASU, still in Pac-12 hunt

Arizona continues to ride its surprising surge seeking a sixth consecutive victory when it plays the Territorial Cup rivalry game at Arizona State on Saturday in Tempe, Ariz.

The Wildcats (8-3, 6-2) haven’t won six in a row since they won their 2013 bowl game against Boston College and then ripped off five consecutive victories to begin the 2014 regular season.

Four victories in the current winning streak came against ranked teams, including last Saturday’s 42-18 victory against then-No. 22 Utah.

“Our guys, they play confidently,” said third-year Arizona coach Jedd Fisch, whose is making a run for national coach of the year honors after his team was picked to finish eighth in the conference in a preseason media poll.

The Sun Devils (3-8, 2-6) are coming off a 49-13 loss to Oregon, but they have posted conference wins over Washington State (38-27) and UCLA (17-7) in the past month.

This will be the first Arizona-ASU game for Kenny Dillingham as the Sun Devils’ head coach, although he has experience in the Territorial Cup as an assistant coach and student at ASU.

“I told our guys today, we’ve got to play with a passion and intensity and fire in our belly to go out there to win the football game,” Dillingham said in his Monday press conference. “But you also have to play with a poise and composure.”

Poise and composure describe the play of Arizona redshirt freshman quarterback Noah Fifita, who has started the past seven games, stepping in for an injured Jayden de Laura and not relinquishing the job.

Fifita has completed 187 of 254 passes for 1,988 yards, with 18 touchdowns and four interceptions. His passing efficiency rating of 159.6 is 15th nationally.

The Wildcats have plenty of skill around him including wide receivers Tetairoa McMillan (69 catches for 976 yards and nine TDs) and Jacob Cowing (74 for 539 and 10). Running back Jonah Coleman has 834 rushing yards and is averaging 7.1 per carry.

Arizona State has dealt with health issues at quarterback almost all season and there’s a chance Jaden Rashada could return from injury for the season finale. The freshman has played in only two games but still leads ASU in touchdown passes with three.

Otherwise, Trenton Bourguet figures to get the call again. He is 151 of 248 for 1,586 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.

Bourguet threw for 376 yards against the Wildcats last season, but Arizona ended a five-game losing streak in the series with a 38-35 victory.

It’s a big turnaround from just a few years ago, when ASU humbled Arizona 70-7 in Tucson in 2020. Some ASU fans celebrated by purchasing space on a billboard along Interstate 10 between the schools, with the score of the game bookending the message: “No pity for the kitty.”

Although only a handful of players remain from that Arizona team, and the soon-to-be-fired Kevin Sumlin was still the coach, the loss still resonates with Arizona. Fisch was asked Monday about how he explains the heated rivalry to new players.

“I showed them a billboard,” he said.

By late Friday night, Arizona will know if it will be playing for a spot in the Pac-12 championship game against Washington. The door will be open if Oregon State wins at Oregon.

–Field Level Media