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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On the rise

With the chapter connecting Tomey and Brennan coming to a close, Brennan moved on to the next phase in his life: being a wide receivers coach for Oregon State University. He held this position for six seasons, from 2011-16, and coached up some big names through their educational years including Brandin Cooks, a future first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints.

Cooks, the 2013 Biletnikoff Award winner, isn't the pertinent receiver in this conversation, though, even though Brennan sent both Cooks and Markus Wheaton to the NFL in back-to-back years. The one to focus on is a player who amassed just 627 yards and four touchdowns over his four seasons in Corvallis and three seasons under Brennan.

Kevin Cummings
Oregon State v Washington State / William Mancebo/GettyImages

His name? Kevin Cummings.

Cummings, who most recently served as the wide receivers coach under Fisch, spent three seasons under Brennan's tutelage as a player from 2011-13. After a short stint in the CFL, Cummings returned to Oregon State to coach from 2014-16 as an offensive quality control assistant, with a three-season overlap with both he and Brennan on the staff from 2014-16.

When Brennan left for the San José State head coaching job in 2017, he brought Cummings along with him and offered Cummings his first positional coaching job with the wide receivers. Cummings remained on Brennan's staff for four seasons before taking the same position with Arizona in 2020 following San José State's loss in the Arizona Bowl in Tucson against Ball State.

Cummings wasn't the only one with a plan to head to Tucson, though. Both of them came, but only one of them stayed. Brennan interviewed for the Arizona job in the 2020-21 offseason when Jedd Fisch was hired but obviously was passed over for the position. So he went back to San José State to build on his 7-1 season in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 campaign.