With staff turnover amongst the football program grabbing many of the headlines in recent weeks, Sun Devil Athletics made moves elsewhere in its coaching portfolio to bolster some of the most consistent and top-performing programs.
Cliff English (triathlon), Missy Farr-Kaye (women’s golf), Matt Thurmond (men’s golf), and Graham Winkworth (soccer) were all signed through the 2027-28 athletic season.
By the metric of national titles, few coaches in the history of Sun Devil Athletics have achieved the heights that English has with his triathlon team. With six consecutive national championships, they have been an unmitigated powerhouse since his hiring in November 2015.
The triathlon team’s national championships are a product of the sum of its parts. In each of the last two years, six All-Americans have been named from Sun Devil Triathlon. English has also developed a reputation for recruiting talent from around the globe. The defending individual national champion, Amber Schlebusch, is from South Africa. Second Team All-American Heidi Jurankova is from the Czech Republic. With a recruiting philosophy that knows no borders, there will be more global superstars in Tempe in the years to come.
Miss Farr-Kaye’s resume in Tempe is as complete as they come. She has won a national championship as a player in 1990, an assistant in 2009, and as the head coach in 2017. For her to sign a long-term extension is an encouraging individual vote of confidence on her own health. Farr-Kaye has beaten cancer on two separate occasions, most recently before the 2021 season.
The 2022-23 edition of her team looks poised to compete for another national championship. In the fall season, the Sun Devils were competitive throughout, and finished fourth at the Pac-12 Preview, in what should be another strong year for the conference.
Farr-Kaye was also inducted into the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame this year.
In women’s soccer, Graham Winkworth has handled the ascension program since 2016. In two of the past three season’s, the Sun Devils have qualified for the NCAA Tournament. He also oversaw the development of Nicole Douglas from a promising recruit into an icon of the program.
In 2022, Douglas was named Pac-12 Forward of the Year. She has been named an All-American two times, becoming the first Sun Devil soccer player to obtain such an honor since 2002.
The Sun Devil Men’s Golf program has long been one of the best performing programs in Sun Devil athletics. With Matt Thurmond, they have reestablished themselves as a contender for national titles year in and year out.
In the last two seasons, Thurmond has overseen two squads that finished inside the top-four at the NCAA Championships. Last season, the Sun Devils played their way into the finals, finishing in the runner-up spot behind Texas.
With a top stable of talent, including last season’s Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year in Preston Summerhays, the men’s golf program appears primed to add to its collection of hardware at Papago Golf Club.
Four programs performing at a high level. Four coaches with a reputation for title contention and talent development. While other premier programs within Sun Devil Athletics such as football and baseball have lagged behind in recent years, this prudent move by Ray Anderson ensures Arizona State will still be competing for national championships throughout its top-performing programs.