Just days after the University of Arizona fired former head football coach Rich Rodriguez following an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment, former Boise State player and assistant Marcel Yates has been tabbed the interim head coach, according to Michael Lev of the Arizona Daily Star.
Yates has been at Arizona the last two seasons serving as the Wildcats' defensive coordinator. Arizona ranked near the top of the Pac-12 with 25 forced turnovers this last year, however, they also surrendered 471.2 yards per game, the 11th most of 130 FBS programs.
Yates played at Boise State from 1996-1999. After obtaining his bachelor degree in 2000, he later returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach. Yates stayed at Boise State from 2003-2011, but left to coach at Texas A&M during the 2012 and 2013 season. He returned to serve as the Broncos' defensive coordinator in 2014. Yates helped the team to a Fiesta Bowl victory in his first year back, but then left following the 2015 season to join Rodriguez's staff at Arizona.
With the Wildcats' head coaching position now vacant, Yates is receiving plenty of support from current Arizona players.
Starting quarterback Khalil Tate tweeted: "We need to hire Coach Yates as our head coach period, he's the best man for the JOB!!!"
Freshman linebacker Tony Field III - who led the Wildcats with 104 tackles this past season - also tweeted that he believes Yates should be the new head coach.
Fellow defensive standout Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles added: "Got all of these fans/media talking who they think should be our next coach. Like y'all know what's best for us. Y'all don't. We as the players only knows what's best for this team, and our opinion should have a big part in this decision."
If Yates were hired, he would joined Washington's Chris Petersen and Oregon State's Jonathan Smith as former Boise State assistants turned active Pac-12 head coaches.