Arizona Football: Jedd Fisch to hire Wildcat legend, Ricky Hunley

PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 3: Linebackers coach Ricky Hunley of the Cincinnati Bengals talks to linebacker Marcus Wilkins #55 during the Bengals 28-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 3, 2004 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 3: Linebackers coach Ricky Hunley of the Cincinnati Bengals talks to linebacker Marcus Wilkins #55 during the Bengals 28-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 3, 2004 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /
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Former Arizona Football Hall of Fame player Rickey Hunley is living a dream come true, as he is set to be hired as a position coach with his Alma Mater.

According to Yahoo College Sports writer Pete Thamel, he beat the University to the announcement, as Arizona Football Head Coach Jedd Fisch is staying true to his word, hiring both former Hall of Fame players, Chuck Cecil and Ricky Hunley on his defensive coaching staff.

Between Fisch, Hunley, and Cecil, Arizona will have at least 23 years of NFL coaching experience on their staff, which is a drastic change from recent years.

Arizona Wildcats Football
Arizona Wildcats Football /

Arizona Wildcats Football

As a huge fan of Hunley’s, I have come to know this Wildcat as a person, a player, and a coach, and his story is amazing.

We’re all aware of his personal success on the gridiron, but the story of his career is amazing as well. If you may recall, we brought you the story of his life and career in three parts a few years ago in a “Letter to Myself.”

Following the news of his hire, I asked him what his first thoughts were when he got the offer. “I thought of this poem I keep, that talks about how it starts with a dream. Add faith, and it becomes a belief. Add action, and it becomes a part of life. Add perseverance, and it becomes a goal in sight. Add patience and time, and it ends with a dream come true,” Hunley said.

“A dream come true,” is the theme for these three coaches, but for different reasons. This is Fisch’s first Head Coaching job, a job he has prepared for his entire career.

For Hunley, it’s coaching again, but more importantly, getting and giving back to the school he loves so much in Arizona!

“This opportunity is my destination, I have been waiting 29 years to get back there [Tucson and UofA]. You have no idea just how much the University means to me, but I not only want them [the fans] to see me as the player that played there, I want them to see me as a true coach, a true mentor, and someone who can mold men. A guy who cannot just be known as a great football player, but also someone who can guide these young men to success,” he said.

He continued, “When I was there [UofA], my coach was an ex-marine, he didn’t pull any punches. What did that do for me? That gave me an opportunity to get on the field early because I was willing to do the things that I control. He demanded from me to give him everything I got, but only the things you control.”

What are those things? “Good Attitude, you are in charge of your attitude. You have to embrace coaching, you have to give your best effort while playing. You gotta know what to do. That’s our job to teach you so that you don’t have to think, you just go out and play. Play hard, play smart and tough, play with pride, and put the team first. Off the field. Don’t make your problem my problem.”

This is how Hunley was raised. He grew up in a family with10 siblings (seven boys, three girls), and 50 foster kids. He learned to fall in line, wait his turn, and do as directed.

On recruiting. If you have never had a chance to sit and chat with this Arizona Football Legend, you are missing a lot. He is not only inspirational, but he is also extremely motivational. The two of us found each other in career limbo and joined forces to tell his story and to motivate each other to make it through the other side successful.

When I tell you he has a “presence” that is an understatement. Recruiting is a no-brainer for Hunley, he can capture a small child’s attention, a seasoned fan’s attention, and most importantly in his new job, college recruits.

“I have been in sales in the last several years, selling UofA is an easy sell for me, a natural fit, and I am really passionate about it,” explained Ricky.

His phone is blowing up from all over the country! Even from people he hasn’t spoken to in 10 years. A Pro Bowl guy and former 49er just called him with a list of players he is coaching for consideration.

He has buddies who are high school coaches all over the US like Eric Wright, who coached together at Missouri, “Man I got kids for you!” The list of potential players is growing by the minute. Recruiting is a no-brainer for these coaches, so it’s time to dismiss this fallacy in my opinion.

Hunley reminded me that Coach Fisch also has a lot of contacts, as well as Cecil. Fisch coached with Ricky under Steve Spurrier (former Heisman Trophy winner, former Head Football coach, former NFL player). He has a lot of contacts because he was at a lot of places.

He was with Dom Capers with the Houston Texans, Brian Billick with the Baltimore Ravens, Tim Brewster at the University of Minnesota, University of Miami, at UCLA, at the LA Rams, Seahawks, and the Patriots. “And no one has nothing but great things to say about him,” said Hunley, “I’m excited to add to what he is bringing to the table. He’s going to be a great mentor and coach, he also has a daughter that goes to UofA, he’s like me, he’s a girl dad. And now we have a bunch of new sons in and coming to Tucson. Daddy is coming home and he can’t wait!”

Hunley makes a great point, he is a father, Fisch is a father, and Cecil is a father. Fatherhood is a growth experience in that you have to be able to relate to your children to raise them.

This is what Matt Dudek, who we called the ‘Heart of the Program.’ was for a lot of players, a dad away from home. The parents loved him as well, felt their sons had a surrogate dad to watch out for them while they were away at school.

Well, the Arizona Football team will now have several inspirational dads when they commit to the UofA.