Tim Kish, an assistant coach since 2004, was named interim head coach of the Arizona Wildcat football team on October 10, 2011. Previously, he served as defensive coordinator since December 2010 and was co-defensive coordinator during the 2010 season. He also served as UA's assistant head coach.
He's one of the nation's most-veteran defensive coaches and has established himself as one of the nation's top recruiters. Kish has three decades of coaching experience in the Big Ten, the Ohio prep ranks, at two Mid-American Conference schools and at a major I-A independent. He came to UA after serving seven seasons as defensive coordinator at two Big Ten schools.
His work in his eight years on the staff has helped Arizona's defense improve dramatically in overall effectiveness and put the program into position to win championships. His ascension to a coordinator's position and eventual interim head coach reflects that.
Kish was named a top 25 national recruiter for Arizona in each of the 2004, 2005 and 2006 seasons and was the primary recruiting coach for seven Arizona signees in the class of 2010. With 19 years of experience coaching in the Big Ten and Pac-12, he has served as a coordinator in both powerhouse conferences.
He developed three new starters in 2010 into a solid unit, with junior college transfer Paul Vassallo earning honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors in his first go-round. Vassallo became the first Cat since Lance Briggs to post more than 100 tackles. Kish also coordinated a defense that finished fourth in rushing, passing and pass efficiency defense in a league full of 400+ offenses.
Kish mentored Xavier Kelley into a second-team All-Pac-10 pick in 2009, plus Vuna Tuihalamaka into an honorable mention selection off the league's No. 2 total defense unit. They were second and fourth on the club in tackles with a combined 150 hits and 11 for losses. Under his guidance, Ronnie Palmer was a four-year, 41-game starter and 2008 honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick his senior year.
In the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl, Arizona linebackers showcased the downhill style Kish has developed with a combined 30 tackles from three positions. UA's starting linebackers recorded 20+ tackles in 12 games in 2007-08.
Spencer Larsen was a first-team All-Pac-10 honoree in 2007, when he led the league with 131 tackles and 10.9 per game. Kish developed Larsen into a 2008 NFL Draft pick by the Denver Broncos. Larsen earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2006.
Despite missing 14 games in 2005, UA's linebacking trio of Larsen, Palmer and sophomore Dane Krogstad combined for 127 tackles. Each had break-out games of 14+ tackles. Palmer earned honorable mention freshman All-America honors in his abbreviated 2005 debut season.
Prior to his arrival in Tucson, the 2002 Indiana defensive unit finished fourth in the Big Ten and 33rd nationally in pass defense. Kish helped Northwestern win two Big Ten Conference titles and earn consecutive appearances in the Rose and Citrus Bowls.
Kish was part of an Illinois staff that took a 0-11 team in 1997 and improved the squad's mark to 8-4 by 1999. His Illini unit that year recovered 13 fumbles, had 30 sacks and intercepted 14 passes, plus knocked off No. 9 Michigan in Ann Arbor and posted another big road victory at No. 22 Ohio State. The Illini beat Virginia in the Micronpc.com Bowl and finished the season ranked No. 24.
During his time at Army, he helped the Cadets make three bowl appearances, including a 31-29 victory over Illinois in the 1985 Peach Bowl. That season Army posted a 9-3 record and held eight of 12 opponents to 17 points or less. Kish also guided an Army defense that held the opposition to 17 points or less 42 times during his tenure at West Point.
A graduate of Westerville (Ohio) High School, Otterbein College (1976) and Bowling Green State (1978), he was a four-year letterman as a defensive back at Otterbein and played basketball collegiately. Kish and his wife, Angela, have two daughters, Megan and Emily, and a son, Michael.
Kish's Coaching History
1976 Assistant coach Mariemont H.S., Cincinnati
1977 Assistant coach Mariemont High School
1978 Graduate assistant Bowling Green State
1979-81 Assistant secondary coach Purdue
1982 Quarterbacks coach Ball State
1983 Defensive line coach Ball State
1984-91 Defensive ends/OLBs coach Army
1992-96 Defensive ends/LBs coach Northwestern
1997-00 Defensive coordinator/LBs Illinois
2001 Defensive coordinator/LBs Ohio
2002-03 Defensive coordinator/LBs Indiana
2004 Linebackers coach Arizona
2005 Linebackers coach Arizona
2006 Linebackers coach Arizona
2007 Linebackers coach, Asst. HC Arizona
2008 Linebackers coach, Asst. HC Arizona
2009 Linebackers coach, Asst. HC Arizona
2010 Co-Defensive Coordinator/LB Arizona
2011 Defensive Coordinator/LB Arizona
Kish in Bowl Games
1979 Bluebonnet Bowl Purdue assistant
1980 Liberty Bowl Purdue assistant
1984 Cherry Bowl Army assistant
1985 Peach Bowl Army assistant
1988 Sun Bowl Army assistant
1996 Citrus Bowl Northwestern assistant
1995 Rose Bowl Northwestern assistant
1999 Micronpc.com Bowl Illinois coordinator
2008 Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl Arizona assistant
2009 Holiday Bowl Arizona co-coordinator
2010 Alamo Bowl Arizona coordinator
The Kish File
Birthdate: July 1, 1954, Westerville, Ohio
High School: Westerville, Ohio, High School, 1972
College: Otterbein College, 1976; Bowling Green State, 1978
Playing Experience: Otterbein College, defensive back, 1973-76
Recruiting Areas: Phoenix, Inland Empire, Chicago
Family: Wife, Angela; daughters Megan and Emily; son Michael