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ASU’s hire of Edwards was bizarre, but approach it with an open mind

Newly appointed Arizona State University NCAA college football head coach Herman Edwards speaks during a news conference, Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. Edwards, a former NFL head coach and current ESPN analyst will assume the head coach position and serve as football CEO according to ASU athletic director Ray Anderson. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Arizona State University’s Vice President for University Athletics and Athletics Director Ray Anderson made a head-scratching hire in naming Herm Edwards the next head football coach. The press conference was more bizarre, and it came across like an infomercial; more people are restless afterward.

For about six weeks, we talked on 98.7 Arizona’s Sports Station about how Anderson wasn’t going to use a search film.

Tony Dungy and Herm Edwards were going to tap into Anderson as consultants — this after former Athletic Director Lisa Love hired the Korn Ferry search firm headed by Vice Chairman, Global Sector Leader Jed Hughes. That group recommended University of Pittsburgh’s Todd Graham, who spent six years leading ASU football before his firing after the 2017 Territorial Cup.

My issue from the day when the search to replace Graham officially started was with the process. Leaking Edwards’ name and knowing all along Edwards was the only choice, this has been in the works for a while. It appears to be an inside hiring job.

Anderson didn’t hire Todd Graham and had zero issues with the firing. Anderson and Graham didn’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of different topics, and it put a wedge between them in their relationship professionally and personally.

Speaking during the press conference to introduce Edwards, in order, were ASU President Michael M. Crow, Anderson, Edwards’ agent Phil de Picciotto, and then Edwards.

Anderson sold his agency to de Picciotto, the founder of Octagon, in the early 2000s, and it was de Picciotto who spoke on behalf of Anderson during the press conference. Who decided this was a good idea?

Also, Anderson represented Edwards when he was coaching in the NFL. It seems that Anderson is taking care of friends and didn’t do a thorough search to hire the most qualified candidate.

Now that the hiring is official, I’ll go in with open mind and judge them by what they do on the field. I’m intrigued with the model of the ASU football operations department running like an NFL front office. Why not try something different and think outside the box?


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