Cats will miss Mike Borich

Arizona had a huge coaching turnover in January and February, but came out of the upheaval in good shape. It added a number of talented, enthusiastic, well-regarded coaches. One of those coaches won't be on the staff to showcase what he can do. Mike Borich resigned. The UA will miss him.

Of all the new coaches I watched during spring practices, Borich was the most impressive. He was young, energetic and really worked well with the players. He was noticeable. He wore his hat backwards and donned cleats so he could show players how to do things. He was positive. Even a rare tongue lashing was kept as positive as possible.

Other observers were impressed as well. Several former players loved his drills. They thought they were inventive and effective. He stressed minor details along with major concepts. The tiniest aspect of a stance or a route was broken down.

Former receivers coach Rob Ianello was competent, but Borich seemed to be bringing something new to the table. While Ianello did what was expected, it was Borich's unexpected extras that had these former players impressed.

His resume was top-notch. He had pro experience and worked at two of the most pass-happy schools in the country. You could sense he was the guy who could get more out of players like Ricky Williams, Lance Relford and Juan Valentine. All three have shown flashes, but to date have never lived up to their potential. Already Andrae Thurman was looking like a replacement for Bobby Wade after just a spring under Borich.

You had the sense that Borich would be good for recruiting as well. His youth and enthusiasm appeared to be infectious. You could just picture him coming into a recruit's house and winning him over. You could imagine him moving the couch to demonstrate technique. It wouldn't seem out of character for Borich to use a recruit's little brother as a cornerback and the family dog as the help-side safety.

The University has been vague on the reasons why Borich is leaving, but it could stem from some unfortunate family circumstances.

"Mike has some personal issues toward which he wants to direct his full attention," Arizona Athletic Director Jim Livengood said. "His departure in no way reflects negatively on his employment at the University of Arizona."

"At this time, for me personally, my family comes first," Borich added in an official statement from the University.

The timing is unfortunate, but not tragic. Better to look for a replacement at this juncture than in the middle of the season. Although coaches are out on the road recruiting, relationships are just now being cultivated.

The Cats survived the last wave of coaching changes. They can survive again. One can only hope they can get the kind of coach who makes a first impression like Borich did.

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