With the beginning of a new year, it is time to look back and reflect on those who have left Sun Devil nation.
1) Bruce Snyder - Snyder died on April 13th, 2009 of Stage IV melanoma cancer. He will be forever remembered as the coach who led the Devils to the 1997 Rose Bowl, where the Devils came up just short against the Buckeyes. Snyder was a great ambassador for ASU sports, producing 40 NFL draft picks and an additional 40 players which signed as rookie free agents. Snyder went 58-47 while coaching at ASU.
2) Rich Olson - Goodbye and good riddance. Olson was dismissed from ASU on December 3rd, 2009 with cheers heard from Sun Devil fans around the nation. Here is to hoping that along with Olson went our brick-handed, anchor-footed offense which had little success over the past two years.
3) James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph - Harden was electric. Pendergraph was consistent and the vocal leader. The affect their departure from the Sun Devils had on the basketball team is showing more than ever. Harden was our go to guy and the one that kept us in close games. Pendergraph could always be counted on to carry the load inside the paint for ASU. They led us to the NCAA tournament and carried us through to the 2nd round, where the Devils lost to Syracuse. It was a special year with 2 of ASU's greatest players playing together.
4) Overcrowded Gyms - With the new Weatherup Center opening up, the Sun Devil basketball team has a state-of-the-art practice facility in which to call home. The Devils no longer have to fight for practice time with the wrestling and gymnastics teams. They have a place to call their own.
5) Crowded Football Games - Sadly, the attendance at ASU home games this past season was down. While no official attendance numbers are listed on thesundevils.com, I can only assume that attendance is down from the 63,837 2008 numbers. 2010 doesn't look like it will be much higher than 2009, unless the Devils show the Valley of the Sun that they are worth the raised admission prices.
6) Pat Murphy - In what appears to be a forced and messy resignation/firing, the Sun Devils baseball coach is no longer a part of the program. With NCAA sanctions looming, we can only hope our athletics program escapes USC-like punishment.
Feel free to add any other departures that you remember from the 2009 year.