Utah football: Ute coach Roderick coming back after all

Published January 26, 2009 5:11 pm

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Even as his tasks as Washington's new receivers coach began, Aaron Roderick felt like his heart was still with the University of Utah. A few days later, he followed his heart back home.

Roderick is returning to the Utes as the receivers coach, more than a week after accepting the same position at Washington.

Roderick will return as a slightly demoted coach since he was announced to be the co-offensive coordinator with Dave Schramm on Jan. 17. That announcement was nullified only a few minutes after Utah sent out a press release, when Roderick changed his mind and decided to join the Washington staff after all.

Roderick was going to be paid $200,000 at Washington where he was going to coach with his friend Steve Sarkisian and enjoy a big salary increase from the $92,000 he made with the Utes. However, he said neither the money nor job title was what swayed his decision to go or return.

"I just love Utah," he said. "The longer I was up there, the more and more I wanted to be at Utah. I went to Sark and said, 'Look, I'm cheating you right now. My heart isn't in this. You deserve better.'"

Roderick said Sarkisian was understanding in his decision. "He told me not to miss out on what I have back here."

Roderick said a small part in his decision to stay was that his wife, Laurel, was going to have to quit her job as Utah's assistant soccer coach. There wasn't a position for her at Washington.

"We were going to have to give up a lot," he said. "But I want to make it clear, there wasn't any bad blood or relationships at either place. I left Utah on good terms and I'm fortunate enough to be able to come back."

Roderick said he only had a few things with him at Washington and hadn't started recruiting for the Huskies. While upset with his own indecisiveness and how he might be portrayed because of it, Roderick said he was willing to live with any embarrassment or criticism to return to the Utes.

"It was a gut-wrenching deal the whole way through," he said. "I am embarrassed by the way I've handled it, but I'll take all of that to come back."

Roderick has been Utah's receivers coach since 2005 and was welcomed back by coach Kyle Whittingham.

"He has been an integral part of our success over the past four years," Whittingham said. "Aaron's return is great news for our current players as well as for our incoming recruits."

Whittingham still has positions to fill as the Utes need an offensive line coach to replace Charlie Dickey, who went with former offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig to Kansas State, and either a running backs or quarterbacks coach. Schramm will coach one of those positions as the coordinator. He previously has coached the running backs.

Roderick said at this point he didn't care what he coached or what his job title was.

"I'm just glad to be on the staff," he said.

lwodraska@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">lwodraska@sltrib.com

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