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ASU ATHLETICS: Ray Anderson resigns as athletic director

Anderson, 69, will continue as professor

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Arizona Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State’s Ray Anderson announced he will be stepping down as Vice President of University Athletics, effective immediately.

“It has been a privilege to serve as ASU’s athletic director for nearly a decade,” he said. “We have entered an unprecedented era where the number and magnitude of changes in the college sports landscape are astounding. As I approach my seventh decade of life, these are not matters that my leadership would be able to corral during my tenure. Continuity of leadership will be needed, and I am choosing to step aside to let the university find that leader.”

Anderson, 69, said it was time to move on from his athletic director position, but will remain at the university as a professor in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law where he will expand the already well-regarded sports law and business programs.

ASU Senior Vice President for Education Outreach and Student Services Jim Rund will serve as the interim athletic director. Rund served as interim athletic director in 2013 after Steve Patterson made the move to the University of Texas. Anderson was named new athletic director in January of 2014. He recently helped ink one of the largest naming rights deals in college sports with Mountain America Stadium (formerly Sun Devil Stadium).

Anderson made it a priority to hire national coaches, championship winning and Pac-12 coaches of the year in a mission to elevate ASU’s athletics. He led ASU to a top-20 slot in the Learfield Directors Cup and was a finalist for the Sports Business Journal’s Athletic Director of the year in 2019. Anderson was mentioned as Forbes 25-most influential Minorities in Sports in 2016 and was responsible for creating “Honor Row” at ASU Athletics in 2014, which recognizes service members at home games, providing their families with free tickets.

“I want to sincerely thank the many ASU student-athletes as well as our dedicated coaches and staff for the pleasure of leading them as their athletic director,” Anderson said. “They have all been wonderful partners and teammates.”

Anderson resigned through the rocky football season in which many called for his resignation or termination amid how he and the university handled the football program since Herm Edwards departure, including the one year self-imposed bowl ban ahead of coach Kenny Dillingham’s debut season. Regardless, the new athletic director will be tasked with navigating ASU through the move to the Big 12 conference in 2024.

”By prioritizing student success, raising unprecedented levels of resources and evolving the Sun Devil brand, Ray Anderson has been one of the most impactful and longest serving athletic directors in the history of Arizona State,” President Michael Crow said. “We respect his decision, and we appreciate his service to the university.”