Feb. 10, 2003
TUCSON - University of Arizona football coach John Mackovic today hired Mike Deal as offensive coordinator and Jeff Hecklinski as quarterbacks coach to complete a re-organization of the Wildcat coaching staff.
Deal, offensive coordinator for the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe the past two seasons, replaces Rick Dykes, who resigned last month for personal reasons. Hecklinski, quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for Central Missouri State in 2001-02, and who had just joined Brady Hoke's new staff at Ball State in January, assumes a new position created when Mackovic recently released inside linebackers and special teams coach Scott Pelluer.
In other moves, wide receivers coach Rob Ianello will take on additional duties as passing game coordinator, while the offensive line coach for the past 11 years, Charlie Dickey, will now coach tight ends. Running backs coach Jay Boulware will take over the special teams coordinator duties. On defense, coordinator Larry Mac Duff will coach all linebackers and Steve Bernstein will work with the entire secondary, while Marty Long (tackles) and Charlie Camp (ends) will continue to work up front. Graduate assistants Jeff Rodgers and Terry Samuel will continue to work with the defense and offense, respectively.
Deal was the offensive line coach for Mackovic at Illinois during part of the latter's tenure there from 1989 to 1991, and later served in the same capacity under Mackovic in his final three years at Texas from 1995-97.
Overall a three-decade veteran of the coaching profession, he was offensive line coach at Vanderbilt from 1998-2000, Texas from 1995-97, Illinois from 1989-94 and Kansas State from 1986-88, where he also served as coordinator.
"Mike's worked for me at two different places. I consider him the best offensive line coach I've worked with," Mackovic said. "He's smart, innovative and will bring a great deal of enthusiasm and experience to Arizona football."
Deal was a defensive back on Indiana University's 1968 Rose Bowl team and was selected to the Blue-Grey Game in 1969 and the Senior Bowl in 1970. He spent summer 1970 on the Washington Redskins training camp roster, then turned to coaching and enjoyed a successful prep coaching career at four Indiana high schools from 1971 to 1977. He joined the college coaching ranks at Wabash College as offensive coordinator and line coach from 1978-82, and later moved to Davidson to coach defensive backs and serve as recruiting coordinator in 1983, plus spent two seasons as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Marshall (1984-85).
Hecklinski, a son-in-law of Deal, was recruited by Mackovic to Illinois as a quarterback out of Palatine, Ill., High School, and after a redshirt year in 1993 he played four games while Deal was on the staff during the 1994 season. He then transferred to Western Illinois, where in three seasons he passed for 5,980 yards to become then the No. 2 career passing leader in Leathernecks' history, plus earned all-conference honors three years and helped the program make the Division I-AA playoffs in 1996 and 1997.
"When we were interviewing for Rick's replacement we looked into all kinds of possibilities - whether to bring in someone with quarterback, offensive line or receiving game emphasis to become the coordinator. Mike's strength is the offensive line, so we felt we should look into support for the quarterback position. We were able to talk to Jeff during that process, " Mackovic said.
"He's been an offensive coordinator and has a quality background. He's an outstanding young prospect as a coach and will have the chance to come here without the burden of having to do more than tutor our young quarterbacks," Mackovic said.
Hecklinski, a 1997 graduate of Western Illinois, played the 1988 season in the Arena Football League for the Albany Firebirds, then moved to the coaching profession as quarterbacks and receivers coach in 1998 at Benedictine University (Ill.). He joined the staff of Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College from 1999-2000, serving as offensive coordinator, recruiting coordinator and quarterbacks coach. The school's passing offense was ranked in the top 15 nationally both years. He was hired to join Ball State staff as offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator a month ago.
Arizona opens spring practice Saturday, March 8, and will continue its 15 allowed sessions through April 10, with the annual Spring Red-Blue Game scheduled to cap drills at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 12.