TUSCON, AZ — The University of Arizona fired football coach Rich Rodriguez Tuesday night, the university announced.
“After conducting a thorough evaluation of our football program and its leadership, both on and off the field, President Robbins and I feel it is in the best interest of the University of Arizona and our athletics department to go in a new direction,” Arizona Athletic Dirctor Dave Heeke said in a statement released by the school.
Arizona will honor the terms of Rodriguez’s contract which is expected to include paying him a $6.3 million buyout.
Arizona President Robert Robbins sent a letter to the campus community Tuesday night explaining the decision that followed a sexual harassment investigation after a complaint was made by a former university female employee last October. The university concluded its investigation last week. Robbins said the claim could not be substantiated.
“However, Arizona Athletics did become aware of information, both before and during the investigation, which caused it to be concerned with the direction and climate of the football program,” the campus community letter said.
The woman has filed a multi-million dollar financial claim against Rodriguez.
Rodriguez answered the allegations and responded to his firing via Twitter Tuesday night.
— Rich Rodriguez (@CoachRodAZ) January 3, 2018
The West Virginia native Rodriguez, 54, spent six seasons leading the Wildcats. He finished the most recent campaign 7-6 following a loss to Purdue in the Foster Farms Bowl.
Rich Rod came to Arizona a year after he was fired at Michigan following a three year record of 15-22 . Rodriguez bolted from West Virginia to become the Wolverines coach in December 2007 after an upset loss to Pitt that cost WVU a spot in the national championship game.
The North Marion graduate was a defensive back at West Virginia in the early 1980s under Hall of Fame coach Don Nehlen.
Rodriguez was 43-35 at Arizona. He was 60-26 in seven seasons at his alma mater.
His firing Tuesday also cost former Mountaineer Garin Justice his job. Justice, a Mingo County native, recently joined Rodriguez’s staff to coach the offensive line.