Familiar and Fresh Faces: Meet the Coaching Staff of Arizona Football
Kevin Sumlin chats with a ref about a play during the game against ASU on Saturday, Nov. 24 at Arizona Stadium.
While Arizona football is about to enter its second year with Head Coach Kevin Sumlin, aptly named “The New Era," a couple of fresh faces are joining last season’s returning coaching staff.
The first new coach is DeMarco Murray. Murray previously played in the National Football League for seven seasons as a running back.
Murray came to Tucson —having previously observed the Wildcats’ offense as a college football analyst for Fox Sports—during the Wildcats' 24-17 win over California on Oct. 6, 2018.
Now Murray is about to step into very different position as the Wildcats' running backs coach this fall, after being hired in Jan. 2019.
He will be joined by Kyle DeVan, an Assistant Coach/Offensive Line hired in Feb. 2019.
DeVan previously played college football for Oregon State, before joining the NFL for five seasons.
DeVan spent one season after his own professional football career helping out—this time around off the field, by serving under famed New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton as an assistant offensive line coach, alongside offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael.
DeVan’s last college coaching gig was with Ball State University for three seasons. During that time he coached the offensive line, until his last season when he was named to the position of assistant coach. Prior to that, DeVan worked with tight ends as a graduate assistant coach at his alma mater—before leaving to help out the USC Trojans as an offensive graduate assistant.
Returning to Arizona Football’s coaching staff from last season are: Noel Mazzone, Taylor Mazzone, Marcel Yates, Theron Aych, Joe Gilbert, Clarence McKinney, Demetrice Martin, John Rushing, Jeremy Springer and Iona Uiagalelei.
Mazzone arrives in Tucson this season having previously served as offensive coordinator for two seasons at Texas A&M under then Head Coach Kevin Sumlin. During that time, Mazzone brought the Aggies to third best in the NCAA in passing yards per game rankings during his second and final season with 252.2 passing yards per game.
This was not the first time that Mazzone and Sumlin coached together. Prior to coaching at Texas A&M, Mazzone and Sumlin served on the coaching staff of the late Jim Wacker of the University of Minnesota.
Now Mazzone joins Sumlin for the third time in each of their college football coaching careers as Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach.
Taylor Mazzone will be on the Wildcats’ staff again as an outside receivers coach. Taylor Mazzone previously served as the offensive quality control coach for Arizona State University in 2010, before becoming their offensive assistant in 2011. Taylor Mazzone later coached alongside his father as an offensive quality control coach for Texas A&M from 2016-2018.
Martin, a former assistant head coach at University of California, Los Angeles, was named to the position of cornerback’s coach for Arizona football in spring 2018.
Martin brings with him six years (2011-17) worth of coaching experience from when he was on Head Coach Jim Mora Jr.’s UCLA staff, during which time he was promoted twice. The first time was from defensive backs coach to Assistant Head Coach in Feb. 2014. The second was from Assistant Head Coach to Assistant Head Coach of Defense/Defensive Backs in Feb. 2015.
Under Martin “in 2016, the Bruins secondary ranked seventh in the nation in pass defense efficiency (105.8) and 22nd in the nation in interceptions," according to arizonawildcats.com,
The Pac-12 conference ranked the Bruins defense at second in pass defense efficiency that season, and third in interceptions.
This is Rushing’s second season with Arizona after having previously coached at Oregon State in the same position.
Rushing though, is about to experience déjà vu of sorts when he joins his new coaching staff in Tucson this fall.
“He played collegiately at Washington State from 1990-95, beginning his career at the same time current Arizona head coach Kevin Sumlin was a graduate assistant in Pullman," according to arizonawildcats.com. "Then when rushing began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Boise State, current UA defensive coordinator Marcel Yates was playing defensive back for the Broncos.”
Springer comes to Arizona football this fall in his second season as the full-time special teams coordinator. Springer previously worked as a special teams quality control coach under Sumlin at Texas A&M.
Uiagalelei, a former defensive coordinator at Mt. San Antonio College, will enter his second with the Wildcat’s football staff as the Fullback/Secondary (FBS) Coach.
Uiagalelei had been most successful during his time at Mt. SAC–with coaching defensive lineman at the junior college level that end up being able to compete at a higher level then college football and with establishing close ties with the Polynesian community.
“Ugalelei brings an extensive background in developing defensive lineman, including coaching Bruce Irvin at Mt. SAC. Irvin went on to star at West Virginia and later was a first round NFL draft pick," according to arizonafootball.com. "In addition to Irvin, Uiagalelei coached Nu’u Tafisi (second team All-American, Cal Berkley, Seahawks, 49’ers).”