Arizona State should lastly capitalize on its large potential after Herm Edwards experiment backfires

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Calling Arizona State a sleeping big did a disservice to snoozing Shreks in every single place. For many years, ASU has been among the many most underachieving applications contemplating … the local weather, the campus (45,000 undergraduates), the demographics (Phoenix is the fifth-largest U.S. metropolis), the convention (a significant one within the Pac-12) … heck, even the mountaineering.

However the Arizona State job that abruptly got here open Sunday additionally bought much more enticing. That is often not the case when a coach departs, significantly one whose arrival was questioned within the first place.

When Herm Edwards agreed to “relinquish his position” at ASU, the arrow instantly started pointing up. Simply not for the explanations you would possibly suppose.

Regardless of who coaches Arizona State, it’s going to be loads simpler to win the Pac-12. USC and UCLA are gone. San Diego State and Fresno State is perhaps changing them. Even when they do not, the Pac-12 is a diminished league that, not less than, shall be all however assured a spot within the expanded Faculty Soccer Playoff.

That’s assuming the Pac-12 stays collectively. Arizona State looks like a chess piece in a tug-of-war between the Pac-12 and Massive 12 in realignment. That is not essentially a nasty factor. With the correct man, Arizona State can have an excellent shot at a playoff spot.

Edwards’ departure did nothing however improve the probabilities of the Solar Devils avoiding main penalties of their present NCAA investigation. In accordance with the NCAA, Edwards oversaw a program — and maybe had direct involvement – in welcoming prospects in the course of the COVID-19 recruiting useless interval.

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The assistant coaches deemed accountable are already gone. Now, so is the coach. In the meantime, the NCAA is within the means of redefining its enforcement course of. The affiliation is on document saying it would not need to punish harmless gamers. The NCAA has choices wanting a postseason ban. And actually, that is all anybody cares about in a significant case. It now appears to be solely a matter of timing whether or not Arizona State will escape a postseason ban.

As Arizona State begins pursuing coaches, with the ability to keep away from that postseason ban would exponentially broaden the scope of the search.

“There are lots of of us coaches who suppose this a really coveted job,” stated Ray Anderson, ASU’s vice chairman of athletics.

That is how candidates ought to look upon the Solar Devils, besides ASU traditionally has struggled retaining itself from tripping earlier than crossing the end line. Lately, it has been that not-quite program that both took possibilities on the subsequent scorching younger man (Dirk Koetter) or veterans maybe previous their prime (Dennis Erickson, Todd Graham).

When Edwards arrived, he hadn’t coached within the NFL in 9 years. It had been 28 years since he had been a university assistant.

That is why there are lots of of us who query whether or not Anderson needs to be main the search in any respect. He whiffed mightily on the Edwards experiment. Basketball coach Bobby Hurley has made two NCAA Tournaments in six seasons (not counting the COVID-19 yr).

It is laborious to find out what’s subsequent given the method that introduced in Edwards and ultimately spat him out. Anderson oversaw all of it.

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Previous to coming to Arizona State in 2017, Edwards had been completely blissful as veteran voice-of-reason NFL analyst. His enthusiasm was surpassed solely by his data. Sooner or later, Anderson bought the concept his outdated shopper — Anderson was beforehand Edwards’ agent — can be the figurehead of an Arizona State transformation. Not a coach however a “CEO.”

Edwards’ hiring got here as a part of a “New Management Mannequin” primarily based on a “collaborative strategy.” We must always have recognized troubled occasions had been forward. given the densely worded corporate-speak press launch.

Anderson then referred to as the Tennessee athletic division “a cluster” in its course of to rent Jeremy Pruitt. In some cosmic piece of karma, each Pruitt and Edwards have now left their applications, each accused by the NCAA of bringing in recruits in the course of the COVID-19 useless interval.

Anderson removed the assistants he deemed responsible for the scandal. Arizona State president Michael Crow doubled down in February seemingly exonerating Edwards. Neglect the obvious hypocrisy in axing Edwards eight months later. Simply wanting 5 years since that big-thinking rollout of the NFL mannequin, Edwards was undone by a loss to a MAC college (Japanese Michigan).


Maybe interim coach Shaun Aguano will stabilize issues. Aguano has been an efficient coach and recruiter in his 4 seasons. It is perhaps a good suggestion for Edwards’ substitute to maintain the beforehand profitable coach at Chandler Excessive College.

It would not be the worst factor to herald veteran coach and Phoenix resident Rick Neuheisel in some form of advisor/analyst/recruiter position.

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Extra from Dennis Dodd: Arizona State teaching candidates

Arizona and the Valley have turn out to be a quarterback hotbed. However high-rated space sign callers should not staying residence. Brock Purdy is within the NFL; he performed at Iowa State. Spencer Rattler is on his second college since leaving Oklahoma. Desert Mountain Excessive College product Kedon Slovis went from USC to Pittsburgh.

Edwards emphasised California recruiting and succeeded to some extent. Arizona State went 26-20 underneath Edwards with no shedding season.

Take away the Pete Carroll period — 10 straight losses from 2000-10 — and ASU has performed USC even since getting into the league in 1978. Positive, it is a stretch to remove these 10 video games, however once more, that is about unrealized potential.

ASU wants a naming rights associate for Solar Satan Stadium. State Farm headquarters is throughout the road however selected to go together with the Arizona Cardinals (State Farm Stadium). Solar Satan Stadium has been correctly downsized to create a extra intimate expertise. It was wild final yr once I visited for the USC sport.

So is the longer term — in a great way. The precise coach might energize the Valley, the area, the state and the nation … if the items align.

It doesn’t matter what, the Arizona State job simply bought higher. 

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