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Arizona State fires Todd Graham

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The news broke Sunday morning.

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Todd Graham was fired after six seasons when Arizona State Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson released a statement Sunday morning.

His contract buyout is $12.27 million, according to azcentral.com.

Anderson’s statement read as follows:

“From the moment he arrived in Tempe, Todd helped change the culture and emphasized the student in student-athlete here at Arizona State, elevating the program to unprecedented heights in the classroom and strong citizenship across the board.

“However, our athletic department, university and community expect our football program to compete on the field for Pac-12 titles, be competitively consistent and qualify to participate in major bowl games on a regular basis. In evaluating Todd's body of work over a four-year period, it became clear that a change is necessary.”

Dan Wolken of USA TODAY reported early Saturday afternoon while Graham had not been told Anderson’s official decision, he believed he would be fired regardless of the outcome of the Territorial Cup. Arizona State beat Arizona, 42-30, on Saturday afternoon.

Graham finished with a record of 46-30 (31-23 Pac-12), reaching bowl eligibility in five of six seasons. His .605 win percentage was better than any four ASU coaches previous to him dating back to 1988.

He also achieved back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2013 and 2014, and led the Sun Devils to the Pac-12 Championship Game in 2013. His record against arch-rival Arizona stands at 4-2.

However, at the height of his coaching career in 2014, then-No. 6 Arizona State had national championship hopes before losing to Oregon State, 35-27. Since the night of Nov. 16, 2014, Graham and the Sun Devils hold 20-21 record overall and 13-16 in Pac-12 play.

Now, the search begins.

Former ASU head coach Dennis Erickson was fired on Nov. 28, 2011, three days following a 47-38 loss to California. Graham’s hiring was just 16 days later on Dec. 14.

UCLA waited just six days to hire former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, so movement from the administration could come quickly.

Wolken reported Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, Michigan passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton, Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason as possible replacements.

Within Anderson’s statement, he noted Graham will coach Arizona State in its bowl game.