Todd Graham set out on a mission in 2014 to improve special teams play. Apparently it wasn't up to his standards again and he has made a new hire to show he is serious about improving the Sun Devils on that side of the ball.
ASU announced Monday that it has hired Shawn Slocum, as its new associate head coach, special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach.
Slocum was most recently hired as a special teams assistant coach by the Green Bay Packers in 2006 and then promoted to special teams coordinator in 2009. He helped the Packers to victory in Super Bowl XLV on top of five division championships and three NFC Championship Game appearances.
"Shawn has 25 years of coaching experience to his credit, with almost all of that coming at the elite college level," ASU head coach Todd Graham said in a statement. "We have enjoyed a high level of success, both offensively and defensively and I have wanted to take our special teams play to a championship level. This hire accomplishes that.
His father is R.C. Slocum who coached at Texas A&M from 1989 to 2002 and has the record for most wins ever by an Aggie head football coach. Under R.C, Shawn coached linebackers, tight ends and special teams from 1991-97 which included All-Americans Shane Lechler and Dat Nguyen. Shawn then coached at USC from 1998-99, returned to A&M from '00-02 and finally coached Patrick Willis as an assistant head coach and linebackers coach at Ole Miss in 2005 before moving to Green Bay.
Associate head coach Paul Randolph will now move into an administrative role under associate athletic director Jean Boyd. He'll help student athletes develop leadership skills and transition to real life after college. He has served under Graham since 2006 at when he was at Rice.
"Paul Randolph has been with me for my entire head coaching career and has helped our teams post five 10-win seasons in the past nine years," Graham said in a statement. "We couldn't have accomplished a record like that without people like Paul on the staff.
Randolph helped coach an ASU defense that forced a turnover in 29 consecutive games and ranked fifth nationally with 5.71 forced three-and-outs per game. Under Randolph in 2012, ASU led the country in tackles for loss per game and was fifth in sacks per game.
This is definitely Graham's biggest hire since making Keith Patterson defensive coordinator prior to last season and enables Patterson to become more focused on the defense while Slocum handles special teams. Zane Gonzalez continues to be a point of strength for the Sun Devils, but field position certainly didn't help at times last year with poor punting as well as coverage teams.
Last season under Slocum, the Packers allowed seven blocked kicks and only had 14 punts inside the 20-yard line. Green Bay did finish No. 11 in the NFL in average starting field position at the 28.6 yard line. Most notably last season, Brandon Bostick botched an onside kick recovery for the Packers in the NFC Championship Game with Green Bay up 19-14 and 2:09 left to play.