Ole Miss coach Matt Luke now has two former head coaches with abrupt exits from their last jobs as his offensive and defensive coordinators.
Ole Miss has hired Rich Rodriguez, a longtime head coach and spread offense innovator, as its new offensive coordinator, the school announced Monday.
"Rich has coached at the highest levels of college football and is one of the most innovative offensive minds in our sport," head coach Matt Luke said in a statement. "I couldn't be more excited to get to work with his experience, creativity and toughness as part of our team."
Rodriguez spent 16 seasons as the head coach at West Virginia, Michigan and Arizona from 2001 to 2017, leading several productive offenses that used an up-tempo power-run attack to devastating effect and made players like Pat White, Steve Slaton, Denard Robinson and, in 2017, Khalil Tate household names. But his head-coaching career ended in scandal last January when Arizona fired him without cause in the wake of a school investigation for workplace misconduct, while Rodriguez received a notice of claim for a multi-million-dollar lawsuit over allegations of sexual harrassment and the creation of a hostile workplace environment by his former administrative assistant.
The university said it made the decision to fire Rodriguez after it became aware of information, both during and after the investigation, that made the university concerned about the direction of the program.
The Rebels had to replace both coordinators this offseason, after previous OC Phil Longo left to take the same job at North Carolina and DC Wesley McGriff was fired after leading one of the worst units in the FBS. Former Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre was named the new defensive coordinator earlier this month.
Luke is entering his third season as Ole Miss' head coach. He was promoted as the interim in 2017, then retained for following the season, after the school’s messy split with Hugh Freeze, who resigned that July amid an NCAA investigation into the program and his own personal conduct. The investigation determined that Freeze used a school-issued cell phone to call escort services on multiple occasions. Freeze was recently hired as the next head coach at Liberty.