Five years ago, Ray Anderson didn’t bother looking for ASU’s next head coach, and opted to hire his friend Herm Edwards. Today, there are more questions about the upper leadership and state of ASU football than there are answers.
Since Anderson fired Todd Graham, there have been fewer in-state recruits, fewer fans in the seats, less fan excitement, and worst of all, more embarrassing losses and lackluster play.
Anderson had to answer to that yesterday, and will have to continually answer for his mistakes and negligence that has led the Sun Devils to where they are now.
Whether Anderson should be in charge of the next head coaching search is another story. There is no shortage of intriguing coaches who would be more than qualified to handle the rebuild of the Sun Devils.
I dove deep into the list of potential candidates who could be available or would be open to taking the job in Tempe. I narrowed it down to my three ideal candidates who I believe could turn around the Sun Devils and restore them to their once proud standing.
Let’s meet the candidates.
The wish list candidate who probably won’t be available but would be a home run: Kalani Sitake, BYU.
This might be wishful thinking, but if Anderson (or whoever is making the next hire) feels any sort of urgency, they should do whatever they can to make Sitake an offer he can’t refuse.
Sitake has built BYU into one of the better programs in college football, where he has compiled a 50-30 regular season record and has gone 3-2 in Bowl Games. Since 2020, BYU is 23-4 and has finished in the Top 25 twice. There’s no doubt in my mind that Sitake could build ASU into a winner, but as a BYU alum, why would he want to leave his alma mater and the machine he’s built for a program with looming penalties and NCAA punishment?
The flashy pick
The candidate who some would love, and some would hate, but would probably yield results that everybody would like: Urban Meyer
If there are no morals involved and Meyer wants to coach, you’re hard pressed to not consider him. Meyer comes with an EXTREMELY checkered past, but his ability to build programs into National Championship contenders makes him an option that is impossible to ignore. A quick rundown of Meyer’s collegiate accomplishments.
A record of 199-35, including a 12-3 record in Bowl Games.
Bowling Green: 17-6
Ohio State: 83-9
And he’s won three National Championships. If Crow and Anderson can stomach the baggage and the sideshow that comes with Meyer, he’s at least worth a look.
The best candidate
Don’t let Rhule’s lackluster NFL tenure be off-putting, Rhule is going to be one of the best coaches on the market this offseason assuming he loses his job with the Carolina Panthers.
Rhule has shown he has what it takes to rebuild programs that have been torn down to the studs. Rhule’s first year in Temple, the Owls went 2-9. By year three, they won ten games. In year four, Temple won ten games again and won the American Athletic Conference. Current ASU offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas worked under Rhule at Temple.
When Rhule took over the Baylor Program, the Bears went 1-11 in his first year. By year three, they went 11-3 and reached the Big-12 championship and the Sugar Bowl.
The Sun Devils have resources that few other schools or athletic departments have. With a program that is in the midst of change, and may be seeing a relocation to a new (bigger) conference, Michael Crow and company need to nail this coaching hire. If they stumble again and hire somebody who isn’t versed or ready to take on a rebuild, they’re just looking at the Herm Edwards era all over again.