Best and Worst of Arizona Athletics in 2017-18

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Carmen Valencia | The Daily Wildcat Arizona quaterback Khalil Tate (14) celebrates in the endzone after a touchdown during the UA-UCLA game on Oct. 13 at Arizona Stadium.

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. 

Arizona's Khalil Tate (14) jukes to avoid USC defenders.

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. 

Former Arizona assistant coach Emanuel 'Book' Richardson was arrested on corruption, fraud charges by the FBI on Sept. 26, in what is expected to be one of the largest scandals in collegiate sports history.

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. 

Arizona's Rawle Alkins, right, and Deandre Ayton, left, pump up the crowd with only 1.3 seconds left on the clock after a clutch win against ASU.

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.

Former Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez was let go from the University of Arizona following a claim of harassment against him from a former employee. The Rodriguez firing is the latest in a string of scandals that have rocked UA Athletics in the last year. 

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. 

Kevin Sumlin, the newly hired head football coach, poses for a picture before an interview with the Daily Wildcat.

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. 

Arizona women's basketball head coach Adia Barnes talks to her team during their game against Iona on Nov. 10. The Wildcats won 71-58.

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. 

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles throws a pass during the 1st quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday, December 2, 2012.

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. 

From left: Rawle Alkins, Allonzo Trier, Parker Jackson-Cartwright, and Dusan Ristic share a moment of sadness in the final moments the Arizona-Buffalo game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, March 15 in Boise, Idaho.

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. 

Arizona's softball team celebrates at the game on Feb. 17.

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