Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo emerged Friday as the leading candidate to replace ousted Rich Rodriguez at Arizona, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

Niumatalolo, 84-47 in 10 years in Annapolis, has been offered the job, the Star reported, citing an unidentified source close to the situation.

A disciple of longtime Arizona coach Dick Tomey, Niumatalolo, 52, is a strong proponent of a run-oriented option offense that has made the academy a strong program, year in and year out, evidenced by the fact the Midshipmen have qualified for bowls in nine of his 10 seasons.

Still, the Star reported that Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate who threw for 1,591 yards and rushed for 1,411 more in a breakout sophomore season in 2017 tweeted Friday that he didn't come to Arizona to run the triple option. He has since deleted the tweet.

Niumatalolo has been linked to openings before but only on rare occasions has gone so far as to interview most notably at BYU two years ago and thus far has remained at Navy. He also was linked to recent openings at Oregon, Oregon State and Cal, a clue that he might be interested in moving to a Power 5 conference.

Niumatalolo, Jedd Fisch and interim coach Marcel Yates have interviewed for the Arizona job. Fisch was UCLA's offensive coordinator last season and coached the Bruins in the Cactus Bowl after Jim Mora's firing but isn't expected to be retained by new coach Chip Kelly. It's unclear, the Star noted, if Yates is being seriously considered by athletic director Dave Heeke.

Rodriguez was fired Jan. 2 after he was accused in a $7.5 million claim against him by a former administrative assistant of sexual harassment and running a hostile workplace at Arizona.