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ASU Football: Ray Anderson, “toughest day of my career” parting with Herm Edwards

AD Ray Anderson addressed the media Sunday

Syndication: Arizona Republic Alex Gould / USA TODAY NETWORK

Following Arizona State’s embarrassing loss to Eastern Michigan on Saturday night, the university and head football coach Herm Edwards mutually agreed to part ways, as announced by Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson in a social media post on Sunday.

The decision comes in the wake of ASU’s 1-2 start to this season, along with the fact that the 30-21 defeat to Eastern Michigan marks the program’s first home loss to a non-power conference opponent since 2008. After meeting with Edwards both immediately following the game and again Sunday morning, the two sides agreed that it was time for a “mutual relinquishment of duties.”

“It was the toughest day of my career to have to separate from Herm Edwards, but when it’s time for a change you make the change,” said Athletic Director Anderson in a press conference to address the coaching change.

“There has been a pattern, unfortunately, of when some of the major opportunities were presented, he (Edwards) did not step up and perform at the level we desire.”

Running backs coach Shaun Aguano has been named the interim head coach in Edwards’s stead. Anderson cited Aguano’s reputation within the program that allowed for his promotion following Sunday’s events.

“Shaun is in our opinion very deserving of this opportunity,” Anderson said. “He’s done a heck of a job with our running backs. He has the respect of all the players and staff. He’s a good burst of energy and urgency that we needed.”

Since being hired following the end of the 2017 season, Edwards compiled a record of 26-20 while at Arizona State. Under Edwards, the Sun Devils made appearances in the Las Vegas Bowl (2018 and 2021) as well as the Sun Bowl (2019) while not being able to reach the Pac-12 Championship Game or the Rose Bowl. Arizona State is 1-2 thus far in the 2022 season.

The separation between Edwards and Arizona State comes at a time when the football program remains under significant NCAA investigation regarding recruiting practices during the COVID-induced “dead period” back in 2020. Anderson did not comment on the relation to the investigation and the end of Edwards’s time as head coach. Anderson also made clear that Edwards’s job was not in danger following last year’s 8-5 campaign.

While “the focus is on right now” within the program, the future of the head coaching position remains up in the air. When asked about the future of the head coaching position, Anderson expects high national interest and will seek candidates with “someone more in tune with evolving change and landscape within college athletics.”

With the massive amount of talent being entered into the transfer portal and increasing emphasis on NIL, Anderson expects to find “someone who is willing to take that change on.”

Shaun Aguano will have the chance to be considered in the search as Pac-12 play begins this weekend. Aguano’s head coaching debut will be under the review of the national media this Saturday when Pac-12 favorite and No. 13 Utah comes to Tempe to take on the Sun Devils.