Antonio Pierce will have a solo act on the ASU sideline in 2021, becoming full-time defensive coordinator. The news was first reported by Sun Devil Source.
Pierce, who has also been successful on the recruiting circuit during his time with ASU, was rumored to be in line for a more expanded role within the program and a subsequent pay raise.
Following a brief period of head coaching interest with the University of Arizona, he remained the natural replacement for Lewis when the Wildcats went with Jedd Fisch.
Should all things go smoothly with the program in the near future, Pierce might be a clear candidate to take over for the 66-year-old Herm Edwards when he retires.
With Marvin Lewis expected to either return to a special advisor role or depart for an NFL job, Pierce is set to take the reigns as the team’s sole defensive coordinator.
Lewis has interviewed for head coaching vacancies with the Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, and New York Jets. He led the Bengals as head coach from 2003-2018.
With Pierce at the helm as coordinator, there will be a vacancy at linebackers coach. Edwards and his staff have been known to hire within the program, most recently with the promotion of offensive assistant Adam Breneman to tight ends coach.
Edwards has success with recent hires such as Chris Hawkins and Robert Rodriguez for position coaches, certainly showing that the Sun Devils should make a good pick.
Pierce’s promotion comes in the wake of news that ASU will be getting back the vast majority of its defensive personnel from 2020, and the unit is poised to be one of the PAC-12’s best in the coming season.