Rodriguez lands Casteel as top defensive aide
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez completed his football coaching staff Wednesday with the appointment of Jeff Casteel as defensive coordinator, David Lockwood as defensive backs coach, Bill Kirelawich as defensive line coach and Spencer Leftwich as tight ends coach.
Casteel, Lockwood and Kirelawich come from similar posts at West Virginia. Leftwich joins Rodriguez’s staff from the offensive line position at Pittsburgh. Casteel and Kirelawich worked under Rodriguez during his tenure as head coach at West Virginia (2001-07).
“We are very excited to have Jeff, David, Bill and Spencer, and their families, join our family here at the University of Arizona. They are not only great coaches, but great people who bring a lot of quality experience and knowledge to our staff,” Rodriguez said.
Casteel, 49, has been defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at West Virginia since 2003 and spent the season before that in Morgantown as co-coordinator. According to published reports, Casteel was scheduled to be paid $450,000 in 2012 and $575,000 in 2013 at West Virginia.
West Virginia, using Casteel's 3-3-5 defensive alignment that emphasizes speed and athleticism more than size, finished in the nation’s top 15 in total defense three of the last seven years and in the top 15 in scoring defense in four of the past seven years.
He was 2008 Big East Coordinator of the Year, among other accolades.
Casteel had been considered Rodriguez's top target for the defensive coordinator's position since Rodriguez was hired in November. Rodriguez had attempted to bring him from West Virginia to Michigan when he was hired in Ann Arbor, but West Virginia was able to retain him with a sizable raise and multiyear contract.
Lockwood will coach cornerbacks at Arizona, his position assignment at West Virginia. He previously coached defensive backs at Kentucky, Minnesota, Notre Dame and Memphis.
Kirelawich has coached at West Virginia since 1979, primarily as a defensive line coach.
Leftwich spent the 2011 season as offensive line coach at Pitt but has roots in the Southwest, having coached at Tulsa, North Texas, New Mexico State and Stephen F. Austin.