Noah Fifita said that at first it felt like a “no-brainer” to follow Jedd Fisch and quarterback coach Jimmie Dougherty from Arizona to Washington. In Fisch’s program, it felt like a connected family. And Fifita knew from speaking with older teammates that’s not always the case. Tetairoa McMillan said Fisch’s decision to leave hit Fifita hard.

“Everything unraveling the way it did, it really broke (Fifita’s) heart,” McMillan said in a new short film, ‘Unfinished Business,’ from Gamenetwork.

Then the team meeting happened.

“But then we got in the team meeting. From the team meeting on, I wanted to stay. Everything in my heart was telling me to stay,” Fifita said. “The reason I wanted to stay is because I’m real comfortable here. I didn’t want to change.”

McMillan knew right away. He said his heart immediately told him to stay. And the two were going to stick together.

“I think we started something good over here,” McMillan said. “My mind never changed about what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. We decided to stay loyal because that’s just the way we grew up. Loyalty means everything, family is everything, and without them you can’t find happiness.”

The days following Fisch’s departure were stressful for Arizona fans not because of who might come to replace Fisch, but because of who might need to come to replace the players Fisch might take with him. The Wildcats went 10-3 in 2023, ending the season with an Alamo Bowl win and the program’s highest ranking in a final AP poll since 1998.

Fifita’s play at quarterback and McMillan’s emergence at wide receiver were massive developments in Arizona surging from five wins in 2022 to 10 a year later. The Wildcats put together a video announcement that neither star was going anywhere, and debuted it in front of a raucous McKale Center crowd at the UCLA game.

The duo both said other teams were immediately reaching out to people close to them to gauge interest in transferring after the Territorial Cup. Fifita said the duo received some “big-time deals” to leave Tucson.

“It was never about money for me,” Fifita said. “If it was about money, we would’ve been gone a long time ago because we were getting calls and opportunities midseason.”

McMillan mentioned loyalty several times throughout the short film from Gamenetwork, but both he and Fifita made it clear they have no ill will toward Fisch for his decision to leave.

“I have no hard feelings towards Coach Fisch or his family. They believed in me when nobody else did,” Fifita said. “I still got a lot of gratitude toward them.”

Added McMillan: “We’re not mad at the decision he made. At the end of the day, it’s a business. You’ve got to take care of your family.”

You can watch the full film here.