Terry Bowden knew the departure of Rich Rodriguez was inevitable, expects new hire soon

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  • Rich Rodriguez
    Rich Rodriguez
    American college football player and coach
  • Terry Bowden
    Terry Bowden
    American football player and coach

From the moment Louisiana-Monroe football coach Terry Bowden hired Rich Rodriguez as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, he knew Rodriguez wouldn't be in Monroe for long.

Rodriguez was introduced Tuesday as coach at Jacksonville State. Bowden hired Rodriguez last January in one of his first moves as coach of the Warhawks.

"I was always expecting it to be one or two years," Bowden said Wednesday. "I'm not surprised. I'm not disappointed. I'm just appreciative of Rich and (wife) Rita and (son) Rhett, and even (daughter) Raquel, who was always around and being a part of the ULM family and doing everything they could to help us, but I'm ready to move on and I'm excited about moving on."

Bowden said rebuilding the Warhawks' program has been fun for both coaches. He links Rodriguez's decision to the time they spent getting the ULM program back on its feet after inheriting an 0-10 team.

"I think he saw how rewarding and how enjoyable it is to be in a program like this and help build a program and all of the sudden, Jacksonville starts calling and he can go there," Bowden said.

While working under Bowden, Rodriguez helped bring the offense to life. This season the Warhawks were able to significantly improve their on-field production. Louisiana-Monroe recorded 165 first downs in 3,057 yards resulting in 23 touchdowns in 2020. With Rodriguez and Bowden's extensive offensive knowledge, they were able to produce 224 first downs and 3,948 yards for 28 touchdowns to finish 4-8.

More: Jacksonville State names Rich Rodriguez as coach, takes director of football operations with him

More: What Grambling football is looking for when hiring its next coach

The search for a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach has already begun. Bowden said he already has a list of coaches who could be potential candidates. Although he didn't give a specific timeline, Bowden said he is excited for a new hire.

Bowden said he plans on tweak some things, especially when it comes to play-calling during games. Bowden promised he would step back and only call the shots at a "CEO level" in order for Rodriguez to have complete control of the offense. Bowden expects to collaborate more with his next offensive coordinator.

"I'd hate to take my 26 years of head coaching experience out of the equation when I've called plays for so long," Bowden said.

Bowden said that quarterback Rhett Rodriguez, who is Rich Rodriguez's son, plans to finish his masters degree and playing eligibility at ULM with plans of transitioning into a coaching role. Bowden hopes that he will stay and become a graduate assistant but knows he may want to join his father at Jacksonville State.

Bowden said the style of ULM's offense will change in 2022. Bringing transfer portal players and high school recruits to Monroe is one of Bowden's main priorities during the offseason.

"I spend a lot of time talking to parents and players about what you get out of it is what you put into it," Bowden said.

Emely Hernandez covers University of Louisiana-Monroe Athletics and High School Sports. Email her at ehernandez@thenewsstar.com and follow her on Twitter @emhernandeznews

This article originally appeared on Monroe News-Star: Terry Bowden knew Rich Rodriguez would leave ULM, just not when