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Arizona Wildcats football
University of Arizona Block A.svg Arizona.png
First season 1899
Athletic director Kathleen LaRose (interim)
Head coach Mike Stoops
6th year, 31–36  (.463)
Home stadium Arizona Stadium
Stadium capacity 57,803
Stadium surface Bermuda Grass
Location Tucson, Arizona
Conference Pacific-10
All-time record 546–402–33 (.573)
Postseason bowl record 6–8–1
Claimed national titles 0
Conference titles 6
Heisman winners 0
Consensus All-Americans 13
Current uniform
Colors Cardinal Red and Navy Blue            
Fight song Fight! Wildcats! Fight! (official) Bear Down, Arizona! (unofficial)
Rivals Arizona State Sun Devils
Website University of Arizona Wildcats Athletic

The Arizona Wildcats football team is the football team of the University of Arizona, located in Tucson, Arizona, United States. The team competes in the Pacific-10 Conference at the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision level.



Early years

The football team began at the University of Arizona in 1899 under the nickname "Varsity". James "Pop" McKale became the first coach of Arizona football history. On Nov. 7, 1914, the team traveled to the west coast to play Occidental, then one of the reigning gridiron powers in California. Occidental won 14-0. Arizona later received the name "Wildcats" after a Los Angeles Times correspondent Bill Henry wrote that "The Arizona men showed the fight of wildcats".

In 1921, Drop-kicker/receiver Harold "Nosey" McClellan leads the nation in scoring with 124 points. Wildcats finish the regular season 7-1, are invited to UA's first bowl game, the East-West Christmas Classic in San Diego, to play powerhouse Centre College of Kentucky; Arizona lost the game 38-0.On October 18, 1926 UA quarterback and student body president John "Button" Salmon dies from injuries sustained in a car wreck. His final words, spoken to coach "Pop" McKale, are: "Tell them.....tell the team to Bear Down." Soon thereafter, the UA student body adopts "Bear Down" as the school's athletic motto. On October 18, 1929, Arizona opened up Arizona Stadium for college football play. They won there first game against Cal tech with a shut out score of 25-0. Coach Gerald "Tex" Oliver's "Blue Brigade" plays an expanded, more nationwide schedule, Arizona produced their first all-americans under coach Gerald Tex. The team's 1938 record of 8-2 was a school best to date.

In 1954,Under coach Warren B. Woodson Arizona was lead by Starting Halfback Art Luppino. He went to lead the nation in rushing, scoring, all-purpose running, and kickoff returns. Art Luppino becomes the first player in NCAA history to lead the nation in rushing twice. He also ties for the national title in all-purpose running and is third in scoring.

During their time in the WAC conference the Wildcats compile back-to-back 9-2 seasons under Coach Jim Young's, UA's first nine-win campaigns. Receiver Theopolis "T" Bell is named All-America and fullback Jim Upchurch becomes the second Wildcat to rush for 1,000 yards for two consecutive seasons.

Desert Swarm and Dick Tomey era

In 1992, Arizona's "Desert Swarm"defense is born. Under Coach Dick Tomey his "Desert Swarm" defense was characterized by tough, hard-nosed tactics. UA leads the nation in scoring defense and nose guard Rob Waldrop is a consensus All-American. In 1993, the team had its first 10-win season and beat the University of Miami Hurricanes in the Fiesta Bowl by a score of 29–0. It was the bowl game's only shutout in its then 23-year history. In 1994, Arizona was ranked #1 and had been picked by Sports Illustrated and several other publications to win the National Championship. However, Arizona was stunned by Colorado State and the rest of the season went down along with it. In 1998, the team posted a school-record 12–1 season and made the Holiday Bowl in which it defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Arizona ended that season ranked 4th nationally in the coaches and API poll. The 1998 Holiday Bowl was televised on ESPN and set the now-surpassed record of being the most watched of any bowl game in that network's history (the current record belongs to the 2005 Alamo Bowl between Michigan and Nebraska).After a few average years Dick tomey resigned.

Post Dick Tomey and revivial

After Dick Tomey's leave Arizona Wildcats football went on a decline. Arizona showed decline in wins and went on a bowl game drought. Arizona later hired coach Mike Stoops to take over the wildcats program. Under Stoops,Arizona started 6-18,his job was in critical danger and his margin for error was very thin. However in 2006, Stoops led the Wildcats to an improved 6-6 record, the first non-losing season for the school since 1998 when the Wildcats went 12-1 under Dick Tomey.In 2008 the Wildcats earned their first bowl berth under Stoops, defeating BYU by the score 31-21, Arizona's first bowl appearance since the school's decisive victory over Nebraska in the 1998 Holiday Bowl which capped a 12-1 season. In 2009 the Wildcats earned their second straight bowl berth and a second straight 8 win season. Arizona was defeated 33-0 by Nebraska in a rematch of the 1998 Holiday Bowl.

Following the Holiday Bowl, Sonny Dykes left the program to become the head coach at Louisiana Tech and Mark Stoops became the defensive coordinator at Florida State. To replace them, Stoops promoted Bill Bedenbaugh and Seth Littrell to co-offensive coordinators, while promoting Tim Kish to be co-defensive coordinators with Greg Brown, who was hired from Colorado.

Conference Titles

Year Conference Coach Record
1935 Border Tex Oliver 7-2-0
1936 Border Tex Oliver 5-2-3
1941 Border Miles W. Casteel 7-3-0
1964 WAC Jim LaRue 6-3-1
1973 WAC Jim Young 8-3-0
1993 Pac-10 Dick Tomey 10-2-0
Conference Titles 6

Note: bold years indicate outright conference titles

Bowl Games

Date Bowl W/L Opponent PF PA
December 26, 1921 San Diego E-W Christmas Classic L Centre 0 38
January 1, 1949 Salad L Drake 13 14
December 28, 1968 Sun L Auburn 10 34
December 25, 1979 Fiesta L Pittsburgh 10 16
December 28, 1985 Sun T Georgia 13 13
December 27, 1986 Aloha W North Carolina 30 21
December 31, 1989 Copper W NC State 17 10
December 25, 1990 Aloha L Syracuse 0 28
December 31, 1992 Sun L Baylor 15 20
January 1, 1994 Fiesta W Miami 29 0
December 27, 1994 Freedom L Utah 13 16
December 27, 1997 W New Mexico 20 14
December 30, 1998 Holiday W Nebraska 23 20
December 20, 2008 Las Vegas W BYU 31 21
December 30, 2009 Holiday L Nebraska 0 33
Total 15 Bowl Games 6-8-1 224 298

Trophy Game

Current Holder from the 2009 matchup - The University of Arizona

Logos and uniforms


The team may use any combinations of its three jerseys and three pants. So far in the 2009 season, the Wildcats have worn blue-white, red-blue, red-white and all-red at home, while they have worn all three away combinations.

Individual Award Winners

Dick Tomey - 1992
  • Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year
Ricky Hunley - 1983
Byron Evans - 1986
Chuck Cecil - 1987
Dana Wells - 1988
Darryl Lewis - 1990
Rob Waldrop - 1993
Tedy Bruschi - 1995
Mike Thomas - 2005
Rob Waldrop - 1993
Rob Waldrop - 1993
Darryll Lewis - 1990[1]
Antoine Cason - 2007
Steve McLaughlin - 1994[2]
Rob Waldrop - 1993[3]


  • 2008- Rob Gronkowski, Arizona (associated Press)
  • 2007- Antoine Cason, Arizona (Associated Press, Walter Camp, Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, CBS Sports, College Football News,,
  • 2005- Danny Baugher, Arizona (Pro Football Weekly)
  • 1999- Dennis Northcutt, Arizona (AFCA)
  • 1999- Dennis Northcutt, Arizona (AP, FWAA, CNNSI-AP)
  • 1998- Chris McAlister, Arizona (AFCA, AP, FWAA, TSN, Walter Camp, FN)
  • 1995- Tedy Bruschi, Arizona (AP, UPI, Walter Camp, AFCA-Coaches, FWAA-Writers, TSN)
  • 1994- Tedy Bruschi, Arizona (Associated Press, Walter Camp, FWAA-Writers, AFCA-Coaches, Scripps-Howard, Sporting News)
  • 1994- Tony Bouie, Arizona (Walter Camp, AFCA-Coaches, Sporting News)
  • 1994- Steve McLaughlin, Arizona (Walter Camp, FWAA-Writers, Scripps-Howard, Sporting News)
  • 1993- Rob Waldrop, Arizona (AP, UPI, WC, FWAA, AFCA, SH, TSN, FN)
  • 1993- Sean Harris, Arizona (SH)
  • 1992- Rob Waldrop, Arizona (AP, UPI, NEA, FWAA)
  • 1992- Josh Miller, Arizona (FWAA, TSN)
  • 1990- Darryl Lewis, Arizona (AP, UPI, WC, AFCA, FWAA, TSN, FN)
  • 1987- Chuck Cecil, Arizona (UPI, WC, AFCA)
  • 1985- Allen Durden, Arizona (UPI, WC)
  • 1983- Ricky Hunley, Arizona (AP, UPI, NEA, WC, AFCA, FWAA)
  • 1982- Ricky Hunley, Arizona (AP, UPI, AFCA)
  • 1976- Mike Dawson, Arizona
  • 1975- Theo Bell, Arizona (NEA)
  • 1971- Mark Arneson, Arizona (TSN)
  • 1941- Hank Stanton, Arizona
  • 1938- Tom Greenfield, Arizona
  • 1937- Walt Nielson, Arizona
  • 1935- Ted Bland, Arizona

Retired Jerseys

Retired Football Jerseys



College Football Hall of Famers

Inductee Position(s) Class Year(s)
Chuck Cecil Defensive back 2009 1984-1987
Ricky Hunley Linebacker 1997 1980-1983
Darrell Mudra Head Coach 2000 1967-1968
Warren B. Woodson Head Coach 1989 1952-1956
Jim Young Head Coach 1999 1973-1976

Arizona Past All-Star players in NFL & CFL


All-Pro (1996, 1997, 1998 1999, 2000) NFL 1990s All-Decade Team


See also


External links

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