Arizona football’s co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Calvin Magee was named one of the 29 finalists for the Broyles Award given to the nation’s top assistant Wednesday afternoon.
Magee has quickly helped transform the Wildcats from their pass-happy offense of old to a fully balanced option-run system in his first season in Tucson. With the Wildcats headed to a bowl game and guaranteed a winning record at 7-4, the associate head coach was placed into the running for the prestigious award.
Why there are 29 finalists and not 30? I don’t know, but Magee is joined by fellow Pac-12 coaches Mark Banker of Oregon State and Noel Mazzone of UCLA as well as Florida State’s Mark Stoops, the brother of former Arizona head coach Mike Stoops.
The Arizona offense is No. 8 overall in total yards per game and running back Ka’Deem Carey currently leads the nation in rushing with 1585 yards, just 17 away from tying the all-time school rushing record. Advanced metrics also bode well for the Wildcats, as Football Outsider’s overall offensive efficiency index ranks Arizona No. 5 overall and the top team in the Pac-12 (Oregon is ranked No. 10).
The Magee nomination comes at an interesting time with Arizona preparing for the Duel in the Desert Friday. The game pits Magee and two other Arizona assistants against their former boss, Arizona State’s head coach Todd Graham. When Magee left Pittsburgh last season to join head coach Rich Rodriguez at Arizona, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Graham referred to Magee and the two others as “nothing but mercenaries.”
Graham has since said that the quote was taken out of context, but either way tensions should be raw heading into the 86th meeting between the two rivals.