Rhoads coached defensive backs at UCLA the past two seasons and will inherit a defense that ranked fourth-worst in scoring among Power 5 teams this season (35.8 points per game).
"I am very happy to announce that Paul Rhoads has agreed to join the Arizona Football Family as our defensive coordinator," second-year head coach kevin Sumlin said in a statement. "Paul is a man of personal and professional integrity. He brings to Arizona a history of proven success as a leader and teacher who will bring a focus on relationships, communication and fundamentals. I look forward to working with Paul as we continue to position our program for future success."
The Wildcats lost seven straight games to end the season following a 4-1 start. Sumlin fired defensive coordinator Marcel Yates after a 41-31 loss to Stanford, which dropped the team to 4-4, and replaced him with Arizona great Chuck Cecil on an interim basis for the rest of the regular season.
Prior to his stint at UCLA, which allowed 34.4 points during his tenure, Rhoads spent two seasons as an assistant at Arkansas. In seven years at Iowa State (2009-15), the Cyclones went 32-55.