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Kevin Sumlin fired by Arizona

A good rule of thumb for college coaches is “don’t lose to your rival at home by nine touchdowns,” and Sumlin was unable to meet that standard on Friday night.

Head coach Kevin Sumlin of the Arizona Wildcats watches from the sidelines during the first half of the NCAAF game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Arizona Stadium on December 11, 2020 in Tucson, Arizona. This years game is the 94th contest of the Territorial Cup. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The tenure of Kevin Sumlin as head coach of the Arizona Wildcats has come to an end, as he was fired by the school today following a 70-7 loss to rival Arizona State on Friday night in the Territorial Cup.

The university released a statement:

TUCSON, Ariz. — University of Arizona Vice President and Director of Athletics Dave Heeke announced today that Head Football Coach Kevin Sumlin has been relieved of his duties effective immediately. Defensive Coordinator Paul Rhoads will serve as the Interim Head Coach.

Sumlin finishes his three-year tenure at UArizona with an overall record of 9-20, including a Pac-12 record of 6-17. He came to Arizona after serving as the head coach at Texas A&M and the University of Houston.

The University will honor the terms of Sumlin’s existing contract, including all buyout provisions, with funding from athletics generated revenue and sources.

Sumlin arrived to much fanfare before the 2018 season, but finishes just 9-20 in Tucson and 0-5 in the shortened 2020 campaign. The Wildcats were an embarrassment to the sport in their biggest game of the year against the Sun Devils, committing seven turnovers while averaging just 4.3 yards per play. ASU quarterback Jayden Daniels only threw 11 passes, but for 203 yards and two touchdowns. The Sun Devils as a team carried the ball 50 times for 259 yards and seven touchdowns. This paragraph could go on forever, but we digress.

With Sumlin’s buying running about $7 million, a financially-strapped U of A might not have a ton of cash to spend on a replacement in the middle of a pandemic. But look for names like USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, San Jose State head coach Brent Brennan and UCF head coach Josh Heupel to be in the mix.