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Todd Graham fired as Arizona State football coach

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

After six seasons in Tempe, Arizona State head football coach Todd Graham has been fired.

Graham’s final game on the Sun Devil sidelines was a win in the annual Territorial Cup against rival Arizona Saturday afternoon. The Sun Devils defeated the Wildcats 42-30 at Sun Devil Stadium. Graham’s firing was first reported by local media but has since been confirmed.

ASU athletic director Ray Anderson confirmed the firing in a statement released Sunday.

However, 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.

We are committed to turning Sun Devil Football into an elite program and competing nationally on a consistent basis.

A national search will begin immediately and we will be deliberate in hiring a leader that fits our expectations as a program and a university.

The 52-year-old finishes his tenure leading the Sun Devils with a 46-31 record. His overall record is 95-60.

He took the team to the postseason in his first four seasons, winning the Fight Hunger Bowl (2012), losing the Holiday Bowl (2013), winning the Sun Bowl (2014) and losing the Cactus Bowl (2015). ASU missed a bowl game last year before winning seven games and returning to the postseason in 2017.

The 2017 season had its ups and downs.

After a 1-2 start, the Sun Devils picked up a 37-35 win at home over then-No. 24 ranked Oregon. A 34-24 loss to Stanford would come after, once again stalling the season.

The high point would come in the next two weeks when Graham’s defense came up big in a 13-7 win over then-No. 5 Washington and a 30-10 victory over Utah in Salt Lake City.

Once again, there was a buzz surrounding the program. And once again, it died out.

A hyped game against at the time No. 21 USC came next, but ASU’s defense went back to its old ways, giving up 48 points in a 48-17 loss at home. A win over Colorado, road loss to UCLA and victory at Oregon State led to the Territorial Cup holding a 6-5 record.

Graham set high expectations for the program through his first three seasons in charge, where he led ASU to a combined 28-12 mark, including two 10-win seasons in 2013 and 2014. He followed that up with disappointing 6-7 and 5-7 seasons the following two seasons.

“Losing records in any sport are unacceptable and losing records over more than one year in any sport are unacceptable,” said ASU President Michael Crow in August regarding Graham’s two-year run prior to 2017. “Now you have to look at what the reasons are and the dynamics. Coach Graham completely understands that his very successful start at ASU has got to be realized again.”

Graham was under contract with ASU through June 30, 2021. He received one-year extensions after each season from 2013-2016, keeping his deal at five years until this past offseason, when he did not receive the extension.

Arizona State hired Graham before the 2012 season after he moved up the ranks as head coach at Rice (2006), Tulsa (2007-2010) and Pittsburgh (2011).

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