(Photo: Nicholas Badders/WCSN)
For the first time since 2011, Arizona State embarked upon a head coaching search for its football. With athletic director Ray Anderson leading the hunt, the Sun Devils were linked with dozens of names, but quickly settled on former NFL coach Herm Edwards.
Here is a timeline of events that led to the first ASU football hire of the Anderson-era:
- Saturday, Nov. 25 – 1:21 p.m.: USA Today’s Dan Woken reports that Todd Graham feared his job would be lost regardless of Territorial Cup result. Story released less than two hours before kickoff between ASU and Arizona.
- Saturday, Nov. 25 – 5:50 p.m.: ASU defeats Arizona, 42-30, in the Territorial Cup at Sun Devil Stadium. It is Graham’s fourth win in six tries against the Wildcats. He and Anderson embrace in the postgame celebration.
- Saturday, Nov 25 – 6:23 p.m.: Anderson declines to comment on Graham’s job status following Territorial Cup win. Graham says during postgame press conference that he expects to return as coach for 2018.
- Sunday, Nov 26 – 6:20 a.m.: DevilsDigest.com reports that Anderson plans Sunday morning meeting with Graham, anticipating to fire the sixth-year coach.
- Sunday, Nov 26 – 7:40 a.m.: DevilsDigest.com and SunDevilSource.com report that Graham has been fired by ASU, the first time he had been fired as a head coach in his career.
- Sunday, Nov 26 – 8:47 a.m.: ASU Athletics makes formal announcement that Graham has been relieved of coaching duties. In a statement, Anderson says, “our athletic department, university and community expect our football program to compete on the field for Pac-12 titles, be competitively consistent and qualify to participate in major bowl games on a regular basis. In evaluating Todd’s body of work over a four-year period, it became clear that a change is necessary.” Adds that Graham and staff will coach the team’s bowl game.
- Sunday, Nov 26 – 9:04 a.m.: Conflicting reports link Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin (who would be fired by his school later on Sunday afternoon) with the newly-opened job at ASU. Billy Liucci of TexAgs.com reports that Sumlin is in the line to be the next Sun Devils coach, but Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman pumps the breaks on the rumors, saying Sumlin-to-ASU is no done deal, reports the school and coach had yet to have any contact.
- Sunday, Nov 26 – 1:00 p.m.: Anderson holds press conference at Sun Devil Stadium, explains reasoning for firing Graham: “We have been average,” Anderson said. “…We deserve more. We have the capacity and the university and the community that deserves more and I very frankly should demand more.”
- Sunday, Nov 26 – 1:58 p.m.: Just hours removed from his firing, Graham calls an impromptu press conference immediately following Anderson’s half-hour-long session with the media. Graham admits that he was not expecting to get fired, but that he is a Sun Devil for life: “I didn’t build this place to tear it down.” Graham’s last words on the podium are “Go Devils!”
- Tuesday, Nov 28 – 12:28 p.m.: Arizona Sports’ Paul Calvisi reports that ex-NFL coach Herm Edwards is a “strong candidate” for the ASU opening. Edwards had been out of coaching since getting fired by the Kansas City Chiefs back in 2008, instead working as a football analysts for ESPN since 2009.
- Tuesday, Nov 28 – 3:33 p.m.: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Edwards will be having an interview with ASU for their coaching position. While coaching in the NFL, Edwards was represented by Anderson. Edwards also fits many of Anderson’s desired qualities in a coaching candidate, most notably having extensive experience both in the NFL and as a head coach. The news sparks a strong, mostly negative, reaction from ASU fans.
- Wednesday, Nov 29 – 5:39 a.m.: Edwards goes on ESPN’s SportsCenter morning show to talk about his interest in ASU job. “It has to be the right fit,” Edwards said. “Coaching is about fits and this is a place where Ray Anderson is there, I know the man. We have the same kind of philosophies on things we want to do so I’m going to go down and have a conversation.” Later in the morning, Edwards did an interview on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s morning radio show “Doug and Wolf” where he discussed why he would be a good man for the ASU job.
- Wednesday, Nov 29 – 3:56 p.m.: SunDevilSource.com reports that Edwards will be hired by ASU and that deal just needs to be signed off by university president Michael Crow. Confirmed later by other outlets, both locally and nationally. Reports indicate that Crow and Edwards will meet over the weekend.
- Saturday, Dec 2 – 2:11 p.m.: DevilsDigest.com reports that meeting between Crow and Edwards goes well and that Edwards will be confirmed and introduced as head coach by Monday.
- Sunday, Dec 3 – 9:00 p.m.: Sun Devils Athletics make the news official with a press release. In it, the school says “the department’s New Leadership Model will be similar to an NFL approach using a general manager structure.” Anderson is quoted in the release as saying, “We need to find a way to operate more innovatively and efficiently than we have in the past.”
Welcome Coach Edwards!
— Sun Devil Athletics (@TheSunDevils) December 4, 2017