Who is Arizona football head coach Brent Brennan and what makes him a good hire?

What may seem like a head-scratching hire could be a great move; Brennan has deep ties to a legendary Arizona coach and has a better resume than first-glance would indicate.

San Jose State v Auburn
San Jose State v Auburn / Michael Chang/GettyImages
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The beginnings

Brennan is a second-generation Spartan, with his father Steve Brennan playing for San José State as a defensive end in the late 1960s. Brennan grew up attending San José State games with his family.

Unlike he-who-shall-not-be-named, Brennan was a player both at the high school and collegiate levels. He was a wide receiver at UCLA from 1991-1995 under head coach Terry Donahue and was a part of the team that made it to the Rose Bowl in 1993. His entire collegiate career boiled down to one single catch for seven yards in 1994, but Brennan was becoming a student of the game.

After graduating in 1996, he spent two seasons as a high school head coach. During this time, his younger brother, Brad, was catching on as a collegiate wide receiver under a legendary football coach. In 1998, he took his first graduate assistant job (of three) with Hawaii during its winless season, and he then became a graduate assistant at Washington in 1999. After a 7-5 season, Brennan was back on the hunt for a new job with the 2000 season barreling towards him.

Finally, Brennan took the job that reunited him with his brother and introduced him to the man he has called his "football dad": A graduate assistant position with the University of Arizona and late great head coach Dick Tomey. If the three schools mentioned to this point (Hawaii, Arizona, San Jose State) didn't tip you off, then a refresher on the life of Tomey is necessary.