A good hire for Arizona State football and I’m about to
tell you why.
Credentials since 2001 are as follows:
• Linebackers coach and defensive coordinator at West
Virginia under current Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez.
• Defensive coordinator at Tulsa.
• Head coach at Rice in 2006. The Owls went to a bowl game
in his one year for the first time in more than 40 years.
They were 1-10 the previous year. He scrapped the
triple-option and his system worked.
• Head coach at Tulsa from 2007-2010. Three 10-win seasons.
Three bowl games. His 2010 Golden Hurricanes finished the
year ranked 24th in the AP poll. His 36-17 record was the
best winning percentage of a coach at Tulsa who was/is at
the school for more than one year since the 1940s.
• Head coach at Pittsburgh. A very average 6-6 year with a
bowl berth. He took the job on January 10. The recruiting
class was not his and he clearly was not their first
choice. A messy situation he walked into. I know he knew
what he was getting into. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t
Tempe is his sixth stop in 10 years. I look at that and
see a coach climbing the ladder and climbing it fast.
Every move has been vertical — including this one.
If you’re already worried about him leaving Tempe you’re
only realizing what you already know, Arizona State likely
isn’t a final stop career job. It should be the least of
your worries. Go ahead and spend that energy focusing on a
10-win season. Try to look through the clouds and
bitterness and see if you can work towards the Rosy red
color a little further west. Fan support plays a role in
that, believe it or not.
Look at it this way, if he’s leaving on his own it will
mean he’s having success here. Don’t bring the Pitt 6-6
after one year argument. Dave Wannstedt didn’t even resign
until December 7 (putting them behind), they hired Mike
Haywood on December 16 and he’s arrested on December 31
(being let go on January 1) and Graham gets introduced on
Not the most ideal of circumstances, but it was a step up
him. The opportunity arose and he jumped at it. He wasn’t
afraid. Look at this track record and one can assume the
program was going to be turned around.
In his first head coaching job he hired Major Applewhite
as his offensive coordinator. After that year he left for
Alabama and is now at Texas — same role.
In his second head coaching job he hired Guz Malzahn. Yes,
the Malzahn that won a national title last year with
Auburn and just received his first college head coaching
job on Wednesday at Arkansas State.
Graham hires talent. He surrounds himself with smart
Rodriguez just raided his staff earlier this month. Graham
had hired them because he saw a bunch of guys out of a job
when Rodriguez didn’t last at Michigan (remember, that
firing was after the January 1 bowl game). A January 10
hiring equals slim pickings.
In 2007 and 2008 his offenses LED the country in yards per
Did I mention he came up through the ranks as a
West Virginia went from 3-8 to 9-4 and Tulsa was 1-11 to
8-4 in years before he became defensive coordinator and
years he was. Obviously the offenses would have a big hand
in that as well but no matter how great the offense is,
you have to stop occasionally if you think you’re going to
win games consistently.
There it is.
That’s a good hire. Not great and didn’t knock my socks
off, but let’s be honest, there was a near-zero chance
that was going to happen.
Arizona State did well for them.
What I learned this week…
Baristas Coffee Co. is coming to the Phoenix
area in early 2012. It has been described as a
cross between Starbucks and Hooters.
I looked into it a little and I think the Hooters
comparison was generous. Wow.
Tweet of the week…
@ReggieMillerTNT: Just spoke with my neighbor
Ryan Braun, he says test is bogus, can only believe a man
for his word.. Truth will always come out..
Time will tell. The court of public opinion doesn’t do a
very good job of waiting for that time.
Suggestion of the week…
I hope what he says is followed through. It is a privilege
to play a sport at the college level and those kids need
to understand that.