clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

ASU Football: Coaching search hot board

New, 71 comments

Welcome to the coaching search.

High School Football: Under Armour All-America Game Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Update (5:08 p.m.) Chris Karpman of Sun Devil Source reported that the deal will be done with Edwards quickly, pending approval from ASU President Michael Crow.

Crow is in China right now, so he will meet with Edwards upon his return this weekend. If the meeting goes well, the hiring process will be over sooner, rather than later.

Our hot board has been adjusted in light of this news:

How we rank ‘em

Madden Tonis Destin
Madden Tonis Destin
Herm Edwards Herm Edwards Herm Edwards
Teryl Austin Kevin Sumlin Kevin Sumlin
Pep Hamilton Derek Mason Derek Mason
Jim Mora Teryl Austin Teryl Austin
Kevin Sumlin Bryan Harsin Pep Hamilton
Bryan Harsin Pep Hamilton Bret Bielema
Charlie Strong Dana Holgorsen Charlie Strong
Bret Bielema Chad Morris Bryan Harsin
Chad Morris Charlie Strong Chad Morris

What Ray Anderson is looking for:

Arizona State athletics director Ray Anderson added some insight into the coaching search Sunday afternoon, though he didn’t name any specific candidates. Here are a few notable things he mentioned:

  • Anderson was insistent upon the fact that the next hire must have previous head coaching experience. If true, that would rule out Pep Hamilton and Teryl Austin. We’ll see if this statement carries any weight.
  • He also hammered home the point that he would like his next head coach to evaluate and consider keeping members of the current coaching staff, specifically citing Phil Bennett and Billy Napier. Will be interesting to see how potential candidates feel about that when considering the job.
  • A hire is coming quickly. With the early-signing period rapidly approaching, Anderson noted that it is “absolutely necessary” to get a new head coach in as soon as possible to replace Graham and remain competitive in recruiting.
  • There was a heavy emphasis on an improvement in recruiting during Anderson’s press conference. He stated ASU needed to be able to recruit heavily in Arizona, California, Texas, Louisiana and others.

Herman Edwards (Former NFL coach)

He hasn’t coached college football since the 1980s and hasn’t coached any football since 2008, but former New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs head coach Herman Edwards will interview to be the next man to lead ASU. He had a 54-74 record in the NFL, but has been with ESPN since leaving the Chiefs. First reported by Paul Calvisi, it appears as though things with Edwards are moving quickly, and if things go well, the Sun Devils may have a new coach soon.

Kevin Sumlin (Former head coach at Texas A&M)

Update: Sumlin was fired by A&M just moments before Graham took the podium in Tempe, as reported by footballscoop.com at 1:45 p.m. MST.

Sumlin appears to be the most likely candidate, according to initial reports. ASU’s top candidate during the 2011 search that saw them end up with Graham, Sumlin was a hot commodity coming off a 12-1 season with the Houston Cougars. He ended up choosing Texas A&M and succeeded immediately, going 11-2, including a win over No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Since then, Sumlin has struggled in the SEC West, losing five games in each of the last four seasons and finding himself on the hot seat.

Sumlin has landed great recruiting classes during his tenure in College Station, ranking within the top-20 each of the last five years, including the No. 4 class in 2014. His 2018 class currently sits at No. 12, according to ESPN.

Pep Hamilton (Passing game coordinator at Michigan)

Before becoming the assistant head coach and passing game coordinator at Michigan, Hamilton had spent the last two decades bouncing between assistant jobs in the NFL and the collegiate ranks.

He does have Pac-12 ties, serving as the wide receivers coach with Stanford in 2010 and being promoted to the Cardinal offensive coordinator role from 2011-12. When Stanford’s Andrew Luck was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts during the 2012 draft, Hamilton followed to become the OC and quarterbacks coach in Indy.

He lasted three years with the Colts before being fired mid-season in 2015. Hamilton then moved on to become an assistant in Cleveland and then took the job at Michigan.

Derek Mason (Head coach at Vanderbilt)

A Phoenix native, Mason began his coaching career at Mesa Community College in 1994. After bouncing around college football and the NFL, he made his name known as a defensive assistant at Stanford under Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw. Now, he serves as the head coach at Vanderbilt where he has made a bowl game in just one of his four seasons. The Commodores are 18-31 under Mason and have won just six conference games.

Mason, a graduate of Northern Arizona University, has assistant coaching experience at Stanford from 2011-13. During his time as an assistant, the Cardinal composed a 34-7 record with two Rose Bowl appearances.

Teryl Austin (Detroit Lions defensive coordinator)

Austin, the defensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions, is the only rumored candidate to currently be employed by an NFL team. His last college job was as the defensive coordinator at Florida in 2010 and he has not been a head coach at any level before.

Detroit’s defense has struggled with Austin at the helm, ranking 24th in the league in total yards allowed per game and 19th in total points. The Lions also rank in the bottom third of the league against both the rush and the pass.

Though he has struggled in recent years, Austin was on the defensive staff of two Super Bowl teams in the 2009 Arizona Cardinals — as a defensive backs coach — and the 2011 Baltimore Ravens — then a secondary coach.

Dana Holgorsen (Head coach at West Virginia)

There has been little speculation that Holgorsen could become the next Arizona State head football coach, but Bruce Feldman of The Athletic did mention him as a possible target for Arizona State.

Holgorsen has compiled a 53-36 record as head coach with the Mountaineers and won a 2011 Big East Conference Championship as well as the 2012 Orange Bowl. Before taking the lead role in Morgantown, Holgorsen was an offensive coordinator with Texas Tech, Houston and Oklahoma State, working under the likes of Mike Leach, Kevin Sumlin and Mike Gundy.

Bret Bielema (Former Arkansas head coach)

Bielema was fired by Arkansas as he walked off the field following a loss to Missouri on Friday night. Despite having a losing conference record four of his five seasons in the SEC, Bielema has proven major success in the Big Ten. He coached Wisconsin to three straight Rose Bowls from 2010-12; however, he lost all three of them. But consider this, Arizona State hasn’t even been to the Rose Bowl since 1997, so take his experience into consideration.

Let’s get to the root of his firing, though. Besides John L. Smith, who coached a season before him in 2012, no coach in Arkansas football since 1952 has had an overall conference record win percentage worse than Bielema’s .294 in five seasons. Yes, the SEC is no Pac-12, but it’s not usual to be that bad.

Chad Morris (SMU head coach)

Morris, a famed 16-year Texas high school football coach, led Southern Methodist to a its first bowl birth since 2012 with a 7-5 record this season. While it would be a huge leap from the American Athletic Conference to the Pac-12, Morris has experience at Clemson. Following a 1-year stint as the Tulsa offensive coordinator, Morris spent four seasons as the Clemson OC where the Tigers had four-straight ten or more win seasons, including a 2013 Orange Bowl win.

Coming from the AAC, Morris isn’t the biggest get, but he did turn a 2015 team that went 1-10 into a 7-5, possibly 8-5 team in 2017.

Bryan Harsin (Boise State head coach)

The way Anderson described how he wants ASU to look, it sounds a lot like what Washington is right now. And a good way to get there is hiring a coach away from Boise State. Harsin is 40-12 in four seasons at the helm of the Broncos, winning the Mountain West in his first season. However, he has spent 14 of his 18 total years in coaching at Boise State and has never coached in the Pac-12, so it’s hard to say how well he would do making such a jump in opponent caliber.

Jim Mora (Former UCLA head coach)

Mora, recently fired on his birthday by the Bruins, clearly knows the Pac-12. He won the South in his first season with UCLA and came in second twice, but struggled since, similar to Graham’s tenure in Tempe. Despite having Josh Rosen at quarterback, UCLA failed to contend at the conference or national level. Having Los Angeles as a home base should give you a good start on recruiting, but he failed to maintain winning.

Charlie Strong (Southern Florida head coach)

Off of three sub-.500 seasons at Texas, Strong has turned his value around in his first season at South Florida. He seems to do better with lower expectations, which doesn’t exactly mesh with what Ray Anderson said Sunday afternoon. But if ASU wants to make a splash hire, Strong may be their guy.

+1... Mack Brown (Former Texas head coach)

He’s 66 years old and hasn’t coached since 2013, but John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports reported if ASU is interested, he’d be interested as well. Brown is most remembered for his 2006 national championship win. His overall coaching record is 356-238-1 with a 206-158, 16-year tenure at Texas.