Morgantown, West Virginia – When Rich Rodriguez accepted the job as the new head coach of the Jacksonville State Gamecocks football team, he was clearly humbled and perhaps even relieved to be given another chance to be a college football head coach again.
“This is a great day for me,” Rodriguez stated. I am so honored and humbled to be your next head football coach.
For someone who has accomplished so much at a much higher level, you might think that Rodriguez would be somewhat embarrassed to take such a step down, but he was openly excited about his new role.
Five games into his first season, Jacksonville State has shown that they made the right decision by taking a chance on Rodriguez, who carries a lot of baggage from his previous stops at West Virginia, Michigan and Arizona.
Rodriguez, now 59, has the Gamecocks off to a blazing start with a 4-1 record through five games. Jacksonville State has beaten Stephen F. Austin, Davidson, Murray State and most recently a 52-21 blowout win at Nicholls. Their only loss so far was last week against Tulsa.
This is quite an improvement from a team that finished 5-6 last season.
Rodriguez still runs his patented spread-option offense, which was ultra-successful during his time at West Virginia. Now, at Jacksonville State, Rodriguez doesn’t have a Pat White, Steve Slaton or Owen Schmitt on his roster, but he’s showing that his offense can still work effectively without superior athletes.
Rodriguez, who has a 122-84 career record as a head coach at West Virginia, Michigan, Arizona and now at Jacksonville State, seems content and happy to be where he’s at.
Rodriguez joked that he wants to commit to Jacksonville State long-term and would sign a lifetime contract with the school if they offered.
“If you put a 10-year contract in front of me, Coach Rod’s going to sign it.”