ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported Saturday that Washington State defensive coordinator Brian Ward will take over in the same role at Arizona State.
Sources: Arizona State is hiring Brian Ward as the defensive coordinator. He’s at Washington State and has recently been at Nevada and Syracuse.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 4, 2022
Ward has operated as defensive coordinator at Drake, Western Illinois, Bowling Green, Syracuse and Nevada before serving one year in the role at Washington State.
This year, Washington State’s defense fell in the top-half of the conference in most team-stats, including the third-fewest points allowed per-game (22.4) in the Pac-12. The Cougar defense was known for its unique pre-snap looks and disguised blitzes, which troubled ASU in the Sun Devils’s 28-18 loss in Pullman.
“They do a really good job defensively in the goal-line situations and red zone, you know,” ASU quarterback Trenton Bourguet said before the game. “They really tighten down their defense and the windows get smaller. So as a quarterback, you got to anticipate and understand what kind of tendencies they run: man, zone, pressure, stuff like that.”
In his fourth season at Syracuse, Ward was fired by head coach Dino Babers following a 58-27 loss to Boston College in which the Orange allowed 691 total yards.
In 2017 at Syracuse, Ward was a midseason candidate for the Broyles Award, given to the top assistant in college football.
Ward completes Kenny Dillingham’s staff of coordinators that includes Beau Baldwin (offensive) and Charlie Ragle (special teams).