Ex-Arizona coordinator Larry Mac Duff returns to coaching

Other UA connections show up in new pro league

Former Arizona Wildcats defensive coordinator Larry Mac Duff has a new gig.

Mac Duff was announced Thursday as the special teams coordinator/linebackers coach for the San Diego Fleet of the Alliance of American Football, a new eight-team professional league that begins its season on Feb. 9.

He will be working under an old rival -- former Arizona State head coach Larry Marmie, who will be the defensive coordinator for head coach Mike Martz.

Mac Duff, 70, followed Dick Tomey from Hawaii to Arizona in 1987, serving as defensive coordinator at both schools. He presided over the Wildcats' Desert Swarm defenses in the early 1990s -- helping implement a scheme introduced by assistant Rich Ellerson -- leaving after the 1996 season to be the special teams coordinator for the New York Giants from 1997 to 2000.

He returned to Arizona in 2001 and 2002 under coach John Mackovic.

Mac Duff later made coaching stops with the San Francisco 49ers, the University of Texas and the Las Vegas Locomotives of the defunct United Football League. (He hasn't coached since 2012; last I heard, Mac Duff has been living in Tucson.)

Another former Wildcats assistant -- Vince Amey -- will also coach for the Fleet. Amey, who played at Arizona State, was not retained by new Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin after coaching the defensive line for two seasons under Rich Rodriguez.

You might recognize the names of other Fleet assistants because of their NFL playing days: offensive coordinator Jon Kitna; defensive backs coach Dre Bly; tight ends coach Anthony Becht and receivers coach Az-Zahir Hakim.

Elsewhere in the Alliance, former Arizona assistant Steve Axman -- who was the offensive coordinator from 1980 to 1984 and later the head coach at NAU -- was announced as the quarterbacks coach for the Arizona Hotshots. Their head coach will be Rick Neuheisel and they will play their games at Sun Devil Stadium.

The Hotshots made bigger news with the hiring of former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze as offensive coordinator and the addition of longtime Oregon Ducks defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti, who can otherwise be seen as an analyst on the Pac-12 Networks.

As far as ex-Arizona Wildcats players go, offensive linemen Jacob Alsadek and Lene Maiava are listed on the Hotshots roster.

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