Arizona defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel will not return next season

Rich Rodriguez will have to replace nearly his entire defensive staff this offseason.
Casey Sapio/Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona announced on Monday that defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel and defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich would not be returning to the coaching staff next season. 

Both Casteel and Kirelawich have been with Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez for some time. Casteel was a member of Rodriguez’s staff at West Virginia from 2001-07, including five years as defensive coordinator. Kirelawich was also with West Virginia from 2001-07.

The Wildcats struggled defensively during the 2015 season and were ranked No. 114 in the nation in total defense. Arizona was without 2014 Bednarik and Lombardi award winner Scooby Wright for most of the season of the 2015, which undoubtably factored into to Arizona’s defensive collapse. 

Still, the Wildcats ranked No. 62 in total defense in 2013 before falling to No. 103 in 2014 and No. 114 this past season. 

The departures of Casteel and Kirelawich means that Rodriguez has to replace three-quarters of his entire defensive staff this offseason. Rodriguez already had previously promoted Jahmile Addae to cornerbacks coach after releasing David Lockwood, Matt Caponi is the only defensive coach who hasn’t been let go.

It is expected that Rodriguez will move quickly in hiring new defensive coaches.

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