Arizona fires Sumlin a day after 70-7 loss to ASU

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  • Joined ESPN.com in 2008.
  • Graduate of Northwestern University.

Arizona fired coach Kevin Sumlin on Saturday, a day after the Wildcats’ 70-7 loss to rival Arizona State.

The Wildcats are 0-5 this season after dropping their final seven games in 2019.

Sumlin finishes 9-20 (6-17 in Pac-12 play) in three seasons at the school. He had two years left on his initial contract and is to be owed between $7-7.5 million, which Arizona says it will honor.

The 70 points Arizona allowed Friday night marked the most-ever surrendered in the Territorial Cup series.

“When we hired Kevin three years ago, we had very high hopes for our football program,” athletic director Dave Heeke said in a statement. “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. I thank Kevin for his service to the University of Arizona and wish him the very best in the future.”

Sumlin, 56, came to Arizona from Texas A&M, where he went 51-26 but finished no higher than fourth in the SEC West Division in his final five seasons. He replaced Rich Rodriguez, who guided Arizona to a Pac-12 South Division title and five winning seasons out of six.

“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,” Heeke said. “We will cast a wide net to identify and recruit a coach who shares our vision, our values and our passion for winning.”

Potential candidates for Arizona include Nevada coach Jay Norvell, BYU coach Kalani Sitake, Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo, San Jose State coach Brent Brennan, NC State offensive coordinator Tim Beck, New Orleans Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen, Weber State coach Jay Hill, Fresno State coach Kalen DeBoer and former UCLA coach Jim Mora.

Niumatalolo was a finalist for the job in 2017 before Arizona pivoted to Sumlin.

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