“I was involved in several other situations. The timing of everything is always critical. There was no decision that needed to be made. I was waiting to see what might happen here. There was no other option that came close to this option here.”
Could you describe what Mike's excitement level is, being back here and again working with his brother?
“I know he's on cloud nine. (laughs) I say that, but I've only been around him a couple of hours since I was hired. He's been on the road (recruiting). I know he's excited. He's got a lot of pride in what he does. His expectations will be high, as will mine. We're excited to see where we can take this defense from here.”
What did you enjoy about working with Mike in Arizona?
“There were a lot of things I enjoyed. He and Bob are very similar in a lot of ways, their passion for the game, their desire for excellence. I don't know if they're two peas in a pod, but their intentions are the same. I love being around a guy who is passionate about what he does. He's a tremendous, tremendous mind in football. He's got a real bead on our players and understanding what their needs are. I learned a lot from Mike in those eight years.”
What was it like to take over that program when it was in turmoil, with Mike out and half the season remaining? What did you take from that? (The Wildcats went 3-3 under Kish, after a 1-5 start.)
“That was an interesting experience. It was a curveball in life, for sure. I was trying to teach a little bit about adversity. Adversity introduces a man to himself, was my mantra going forward to the team. It was a great start there in the beginning (a 48-12 win against UCLA).
“In the end, I know we learned that lesson. I know these seniors were able to hold their heads high and know that they accomplished something in the end of the season. But, really, it was all under the guise of what Mike had done in the first 7 1/2 years. I was just being the loyal soldier and guiding the troops at that point. It was an experience for me, though, that I'll cherish for the rest of my life.”