Brent Brennan Hired as Arizona Wildcats Head Coach

    After leading the San Jose State Spartans to unprecedented success, Brent Brennan has been hired as the head coach of the Arizona Wildcats.

    Brent Brennan has been appointed the new head coach of the Arizona Wildcats, replacing the outgoing Jedd Fisch. The former San Jose State Spartans HC emerged as the favorite on Sunday, January 15, with Fisch’s move to the Washington Huskies confirmed.

    It is the latest in a sequence of college football head coaching changes, with the retirement of former Alabama Crimson Tide legend Nick Saban setting a domino effect in motion that continues to ripple through the sport.

    Brent Brennan Confirmed as Arizona Wildcats Head Coach

    Brennan’s name was quickly touted as a possible replacement, with 247Sports reporting that he had been “offered the head coaching job and is expected to accept as soon as Tuesday.” ESPN’s Pete Thamel then confirmed the news just after 11 am ET on Tuesday morning.

    As the sixth-winningest coach in program history with 34 career wins, Brennan, 50, has become a rising star in coaching circles after reviving the Spartans program. He had been on the radar for a move up the college football chain in 2023 and has been mooted as a potential Power Five coach candidate since 2020.

    2023 was Brennan’s seventh season in San Jose, and it was a good year for the Spartans. They finished with a 7-6 record — having gone 1-5 to open the campaign — and made it to the Hawaii Bowl, losing 24-14 to the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.

    The Spartans won six consecutive games to close out the season and convincingly despatched the 25th-ranked Fresno State Bulldogs, the first time the Spartans have beaten a nationally ranked side since 2013.

    San Jose State hired Brennan in December 2016, but he had a rocky start to his career with the Spartans. In 2017, they had a record of 2-11, followed by a 1-11 record in his second season.

    There were signs of improvement in year three, with the Spartans ending 2019 with a 5-7 record. A victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks was a statement win early in the season.

    MORE: Five Transfer Portal Departures From Arizona Following Jedd Fisch Exit

    The five victories put them one win short of bowl eligibility but showed that Brennan had San Jose State on the right path.

    Armed with a three-year contract extension heading into 2020, Brennan led the Spartans to a 7-1 record, going 7-0 in the conference, in a season severely impacted by the global pandemic.

    San Jose State won the Moutain West conference title after beating the Boise State Broncos 34-20, giving the Spartans their first championship victory since 1990. Brennan’s team finished the season ranked 24th nationally, the first time they had been ranked since 2012.

    Brennan had officially put himself on the coaching map, turning the program around and winning Mountain West Coach of the Year.

    In the three years since, San Jose State finished 5-7 (2021), 7-5 (2022), and 7-6 (2023). The last two seasons have seen the Spartans qualify for bowl games. However, they lost the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in 2022 and the Hawaii Bowl in 2023.

    Brennan became the first head coach to lead the Spartans to three bowl games under his reign. Meanwhile, the three bowl game appearances in four seasons — regardless of head coach — was an unprecedented level of success for San Jose State.

    Before becoming head coach in 2016, Brennan was a wide receiver coach with the Oregon State Beavers from 2011 but had served in several positional coaching roles at San Jose State between 2005 and 2010.

    A San Jose native, the Spartans are in Brennan’s blood. His father, Steve Brennan, was a player at the program in the ‘60s, and he grew up watching Spartans games. The younger Brennan is a former college player and was a wide receiver for the UCLA Bruins.

    Brennan was a finalist for the Arizona job in 2020 as the Wildcats sought to replace Kevin Sumlin. Ultimately, the job was given to Fisch. The move to Tucson will finally happen in 2024.

    The new Arizona head coach already has familiarity with the program after working under Dick Tomey in 2000 as a graduate assistant. Brennan’s history of rebuilding programs should allow him to continue the great work done by Fisch in the desert.

    While the coaching staff will need to be figured out, Brennan already has a relationship with wide receiver coach Kevin Cummings, who he worked with at Oregon State.

    MORE: 2025 College Football National Championship Odds

    It is also rumored that Johnny Nansen could return as defensive coordinator. Those two are key to immediate success for the new Arizona head coach.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

    College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    Never miss a beat with the CFN-exclusive College Football Transfer Portal Tracker, listing the student-athletes entering and exiting the transfer portal.

    Related Articles