Jedd Fisch said during a podcast appearance recently his contract extension with Arizona was not approved by the school’s Board of Regents in December because it needed to be “fully alumni-supported and alumni-backed.” It wasn’t, and that pushed the timeline for approval into February 2024.

Washington also provided Fisch with a salary pool for assistant coaches Fisch said was $3.5 million larger than what was provided at Arizona. Those two factors were the driving forces in his decision to leave.

“I was fully committed to (Arizona),” Fisch told The Athletic’s Ari Wasserman on the Until Saturday podcast. “Then an opportunity came to join the Big Ten and coach for the national championship runner-up. It was an opportunity I had to say yes to. And I wanted to say yes, I want to be clear on that.

“… I just think it’s time that everyone understands our commitment at Arizona was 100% truthful. And we were committed to making this program great. We made our players better than they’ve ever thought they could be and we were better than anyone thought we could.”

A local report from Arizona’s 247Sports team site in November stated that Fisch and Arizona were working toward an extension that would have made him the highest-paid coach in school history.

Fisch told Wasserman officials from Texas A&M reached out to him in December to discuss the Aggies’ opening. They spoke via Zoom, but nothing came of the conversation. Fisch said there “was no other job that reached out” that he had interest in or spoke with.

“There was nowhere to go, there was nowhere that was interesting to me that was available,” Fisch said. “We loved Arizona.”

Then Nick Saban retired and the entire coaching carousel got one final spin. Kalen DeBoer left Washington two days later to take the Alabama job. Fisch said Washington called him that Saturday, Jan. 13, to gauge his interest.

Fisch said he was intrigued by the school’s plan for the Big Ten transition, intrigued by the resources dedicated to assistants and what Fisch referred to as player welfare, and intrigued by coaching the national runner-ups.

A job offer came Saturday night, and paperwork came over Sunday morning. Washington athletic director Troy Dannen then appeared at Fisch’s Tucson home Sunday afternoon.

Footage of that meeting didn’t sit well with Arizona fans. Neither did news that Fisch’s meeting with Arizona players to inform them of his decision to leave lasted only three minutes.

In the weeks since, Fisch has been a consistent target of barbs and insults.

It’s never easy for a coach to leave a program. When DeBoer left Washington, he delivered a teary-eyed message to his players and received just as much criticism.

“I had to do everything I possibly could to make Washington football feel like they got the person that they hoped to get,” Fisch said. “It feels like some of the banter or some of the discussions that have come out since I left have really taken away from all the success we had at Arizona. … And it felt like Washington has not been able to enjoy what they hope will be a great run with us as well.”

As for the team meeting, Fisch said that was a decision made for him, not by him.

“The team meeting was not my choice. The team meeting was absolutely dictated to me from administration and really from the NCAA,” Fisch said, adding that, had he offered his players a reason for why he was leaving, the NCAA could construe that as recruiting and tampering.

“So the three-minute team meeting, I told them that I loved them. I told them I appreciated them,” Fisch said. “I told our staff that as many of them that I could bring, I would bring.”