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Arizona State hires Herm Edwards as coach, announces new NFL model

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

After a week filled with reports and reactions, former NFL coach Herm Edwards was officially named Arizona State’s next football coach, pending approval by the Arizona Board of Regents.

The Sun Devils made the announcement Sunday night and will hold a 10:30 a.m. press conference Monday to discuss the hire and Vice President for University Athletics and Athletics Director Ray Anderson’s plan to restructure the football program similar to that of an NFL model, according to an official press release.

The department’s New Leadership Model will be similar to an NFL approach using a general manager structure. It’s a collaborative approach to managing the ASU football program that includes sport and administrative divisions, which will operate as distinct, but collective units focused on elevating all aspects of Sun Devil Football. This structure will allow the department to form a multi-layered method to the talent evaluation and recruiting processes, increase its emphasis on both student-athlete and coach development and retention, and provide a boost in resource allocation and generation.

The New Leadership Model will allow for resource sharing and strategic planning between the football staff and administrators who are directly involved with the program. The administrative division will be primarily composed of Anderson, Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director Jean Boyd and Senior Associate Athletics Director Scottie Graham. The sport division will operate with an experienced and senior football administrator, Senior Associate Athletic Director Tim Cassidy, helping to manage day-to-day operations, along with a variety of staffers responsible for player development, player personnel, and recruiting, among other areas.

“Our goal for this football program is to reach unprecedented heights, and therefore we need to find a way to operate more innovatively and efficiently than we have in the past,” Anderson said in a statement. “In the spirit of innovation, our vision for this program is to have a head coach who serves as a CEO and is the central leader with a collaborative staff around him that will elevate the performance of players and coaches on the field, in the classroom and in our community. Equally important, the head coach will be a dynamic and tireless recruiter.”

RELATED: Edwards’ coaching career, by the numbers | Edwards reacts to naysayers

The 63-year-old Edwards, whose only college coaching experience came as the San Jose State defensive backs coach from 1987-89, most recently coached the Kansas City Chiefs from 2006-08. Before that, he was the New York Jets’ head coach from 2001-05.

Edwards will replace Todd Graham, who was fired after six seasons in Tempe and will coach his final game in the Sun Devils’ appearance in the Sun Bowl against North Carolina State. Edwards was initially linked to the Sun Devils as a serious candidate for the job in a report from 98.7 FM Arizona Sports Station’s Paul Calvisi.

A day later, Edwards was expected to become the program’s next football coach pending approval from the school’s president Dr. Michael Crow, per SunDevilSource.com’s Chris Karpman.

Anderson was already locked in on hiring Edwards, according to Karpman.

“Anderson is already totally sure he wants to do this,” Karpman said. Crow was on an international trip at the time.

Edwards went 54-74 in his eight NFL seasons and took the Jets to three playoff appearances. Under Edwards, Kansas City went 9-7 and lost in the AFC Wild Card game in 2006 but faltered to 4-12 and 2-14 in his final two years.

Edwards joined Doug & Wolf Wednesday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station and said he’d be willing to retain ASU’s two coordinators, OC Billy Napier and DC Phil Bennett.

“I don’t know if they’re Todd Graham’s guys. They’re football guys,” he said. “Football guys are married to football, in the end. You keep good coaches.

“You don’t get rid of them because they’re somebody else’s guy. Coaches belong to football.”

He is not intimidated by his lack of recruiting experience.

“Passion for my faith, my family and my occupation as a football coach are the things that have driven me back to the grass,” Edwards said in the school’s statement. “My personal commitment to build young men to be whole people through the game of football is completely in alignment with the vision President Michael Crow and Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson have for this program. I stand ready for the challenge of working with them to elevate Sun Devil Football. I am very excited and humbled to be the Arizona State head football coach.”

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