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Arizona Fires Sumlin Following Blowout Loss To Arizona State

Dec 12, 2020, 3:55 PM | Updated: 5:48 pm
Kevin Sumlin - Arizona Wildcats...
Head coach Kevin Sumlin of the Arizona Wildcats watches from the sidelines during the first half of the NCAAF game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Arizona Stadium on December 11, 2020 in Tucson, Arizona. This years game is the 94th contest of the Territorial Cup. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona fired football coach Kevin Sumlin following a blowout loss to rival Arizona State that extended a record losing streak.

Sumlin was fired Saturday, less than 24 hours after a 70-7 loss to Arizona State that stretched the Wildcats’ losing streak to 12 games spanning two seasons.

“When we hired Kevin three years ago, we had very high hopes for our football program,” Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we simply have not seen the results and upward trajectory in our program that we needed to, and I believe now is the time for a change in leadership. I thank Kevin for his service to the University of Arizona and wish him the very best in the future.”

Heeke said the school will honor the terms of Sumlin’s existing contract, including a $7.5 million buyout.

Sumlin entered this year on the hot seat after the Wildcats closed the 2019 season with seven straight losses.

Arizona lost by four to Southern California to open this season, but suffered lopsided setbacks to Washington and UCLA. The Wildcats blew an early 13-point lead to Colorado last week and were run over by the Sun Devils after allowing two touchdowns in the first 56 seconds.

Arizona State scored the most points in Territorial Cup series history to send Arizona to its fifth straight loss this season, with another possible game next week.

Arizona went 9-20 — 6-17 in the Pac-12 — with no bowl appearances under Sumlin and lost all three games to Arizona State. The lopsided Territorial Cup defeat comes two years after the Wildcats blew a 19-point fourth-quarter lead in a 41-40 loss.

Sumlin was hired to replace Rich Rodriguez in 2017 and was expected to improve the Wildcats’ recruiting after having success at Texas A&M. He didn’t have the impact Arizona expected, his best classes coming in 2019 and 2021, when Arizona was ranked No. 56 by the 247Sports composite.

Sumlin made a name for himself in four years at Houston, leading the Cougars to an 11-2 record and a Cotton Bowl win in 2012. He got off to a good start at Texas A&M, leading the Aggies to five straight bowl games.

The Aggies tailed off after winning 20 combined games Sumlin’s first two seasons and he was fired after a 5-7 season in 2017.

Arizona showed some promise in Sumlin’s first season in the desert, but went into a downward spiral the past two years.

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Arizona Fires Sumlin Following Blowout Loss To Arizona State