Jacksonville State hires Rich Rodriguez as head coach

AP

JACKSONVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Jacksonville State has hired former major college head coach Rich Rodriguez to lead its program into the FBS level.

Rodriguez is a former coach at Arizona, Michigan and West Virginia. He just finished his first season as Louisiana-Monroe's offensive coordinator after holding the same job at Mississippi in 2019.

Rodriguez, 58, replaces John Grass, who went 72-26 in eight seasons with the FCS program, which is moving up to Conference USA.

Jacksonville State announced the hiring Monday night, and he will be introduced as the Gamecocks’ 28th head coach at a news conference on Tuesday.

Rodriguez was fired from Arizona in January 2018 after his former administrative assistant filed a claim with the state Attorney General's office accusing him of sexually harassing her and creating a hostile work environment. The university said it couldn't substantiate the claims but was concerned about the “direction and climate of the football program."

He was 43-35 in six seasons with Arizona after coaching at Michigan from 2008-10 and West Virginia from 2001-07. Overall, Rodriguez has a 163-119-2 career record in 24 seasons as a head coach, including seven at NAIA Glenville State.

Jacksonville State is scheduled to begin competing in the FBS in 2023.