Best and Worst of Arizona Athletics in 2017-18
As the school year wrap up, let’s take a look back at the highs and lows of Arizona Athletics during the 2017-2018 year.
High: Football finds its star quarterback
Quarterback Khalil Tate left his mark on the field and pushed himself into the Heisman conversation due to his performances during the month of October. Tate was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for four consecutive weeks, and became the first player in the UA football program to have three 200-yard rushing games in the same season.
Low: Men’s basketball FBI investigation
Arizona’s former assistant coach Book Richardson was arrested on Sep. 26, 2017 and faced charges of bribery and illegal payments in NCAA basketball. The investigation caused a spotlight to be cast on the Arizona program for the rest of the season, and eventually allegations toward head coach Sean Miller and player Deandre Ayton.
High: Defeating the Sun Devils
This is always a high to the year when the Wildcats walk away with wins from in-state rival ASU. Men’s basketball, beach volleyball, soccer, softball, and volleyball all took home the win against the Sun Devils.
Low: Rich Rodriguez fired
Arizona head football coach Rich Rodriguez was terminated from his position on Jan. 2, 2018 after a former administrative assistant in the athletic department filed a sexual harassment and hostile work environment claim on the coach.
The accuser’s claims were found to have a lack of proof therefore leaving Rodriguez to be fired without cause and receive his payout of $6.28 million from Arizona.
High: Kevin Sumlin named head coach for Arizona football
Former Texas A&M and Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin was named Arizona football’s new head coach on Jan. 14, 2018. Sumlin is the first black football head coach in Arizona program history and is one of the four black head coaches at the UA.
Sumlin’s contract at Arizona is for five years and will begin at $2 million annually and eventually increase.
Low: Women’s basketball suffers tough season
Women’s hoops didn’t have the season they were hoping for as they finished 6-24 overall and 2-16 in the Pac-12. The ‘Cats finished the season 11th in the Pac-12 standings along with a seven game losing streak.
To make matters worse, in-state rival ASU eliminated the Wildcats during the Pac-12 Tournament. Arizona will bring on eight new players for next season in hopes to bounce back.
High: Foles shines in the NFL
In February 2018, former UA football quarterback Nick Foles led the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl 52 win over the New England Patriots. Foles threw for 373 yards, three touchdowns and caught another. The performance earned Foles the Super Bowl MVP award.
Low: First round exit at NCAA Tournament
Men’s basketball didn’t stick around long during the NCAA Tournament as they suffered a 21-point upset loss to Buffalo. This was considered a disappointment for the program, since many thought the team would make it to the Final Four. The loss is Boise, Idaho to Buffalo was one of the largest losses for not only Arizona, but even in NCAA Tournament history.
High: Arizona Athletics never stops
Although you may be closing your book after your last final of the semester, Arizona’s Athletics will be going for the next couple weeks. Baseball, softball and track and field will be in their crucial points in their seasons.
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