Former West Virginia Head Coach Rich Rodriguez was recently not retained as Offensive Coordinator by Lane Kiffin, the new Ole Miss Head Coach. Although Ole Miss struggled to a 4-8 record, their offense made great strides under Rodriguez. In addition, Rodriguez is widely recognized as one of the most brilliant offensive minds in college football today.
However, with a questionable past and mediocre results since leaving Morgantown – 15-22 at Michigan and 43-35 at Arizona – it’s unlikely that he will be given another opportunity to be a Head Coach at a Power 5 school this year. Rodriguez has made it clear what he wants, recently saying, “I’ve loved my time at Ole Miss during the last 11 months and I was really excited about the future all around the program, but particularly offensively with all the young true freshman we were playing. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I would like to be a Head Coach again.”
It’s possible that a lower-tier Division I school will give him a chance as a Head Coach, but it appears far more likely that he will have to settle for a role as an Offensive Coordinator before landing an opportunity to be a Head Coach again.
NC State seemed like a natural fit for Rodriguez to join former West Virginia Defensive Coordinator Tony Gibson there, but the Wolfpack instead hired former Texas Longhorns’ Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck. Another possibility was the vacant Miami Hurricanes’ Offensive Coordinator position after they fired previous coach Dan Enos, but just moments ago the Hurricanes announced the signing of Rhett Lashlee, former SMU Offensive Coordinator, as its new Offensive Coordinator.
One other position to keep an eye on is the Head Coach position at Tulane if current Head Coach Willie Fritz takes another job. Fritz has been mentioned for multiple open positions and if he goes elsewhere, Rodriguez would jump at the opportunity to return there, where he was the Offensive Coordinator for the 12-0 Green Wave team that featured quarterback Shaun King. Rodriguez nearly became the Head Coach at Tulane back in 2012 before ultimately deciding to take Arizona job and has several connections to the program.
The coaching carousel is very fluid and anything can happen before next Fall, but right now the options for Rodriguez are limited. Perhaps taking another year off as a CBS Sports Network analyst (Rodriguez was impressive in his first attempt as an analyst and would certainly be welcomed back) makes the most sense while waiting for the right opportunity to open up. One thing is certain, though, and that’s that we have not seen the last of Rich Rodriguez on the sidelines in college football. He will be back.