Herm Edwards finishes search, rounds out coaching staff
Arizona State football coach Herm Edwards completed his on-field staff when he promoted Donnie Yantis to assistant coach and recruiting coordinator on Thursday.
Edwards told Arizona Sports on Wednesday that Yantis would focus on tight ends, but would accompany Edwards everywhere he goes on recruiting trips.
Here is a look at the complete Sun Devils coaching staff:
John Simon, assistant head coach, running backs: Simon is a holdover from Todd Graham’s staff. This will be his fourth season. Prior to arriving in Tempe, Simon spent three seasons at Southern Miss before he was hired as the wide receivers coach at Louisiana-Lafayette on Feb. 5, 2016. Outgoing senior running back Demario Richard credited Simon with turning his career around after a core injury limited his effectiveness in 2016 and soured his attitude.
Rob Likens, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach: Likens was ASU’s co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach last season. He spent the previous two seasons as Kansas’s offensive coordinator, although he was stripped of his play-calling duties his second season. Prior to that, he coached under Sonny Dykes at Cal for two seasons as assistant head coach, outside receivers coach and passing game coordinator. Overall, Likens has 25 years of college coaching experience.
“It was a really easy transition to coach Likens,” Edwards said. “It wasn’t even a thought. I know him. I watched him. The offense can stay in place.”
Danny Gonzales, defensive coordinator: Gonzales spent the past six seasons coaching San Diego State’s safeties before adding the role of defensive coordinator last season. Under Gonzales, San Diego State allowed 18.4 points per game, to rank 14th in the nation. Before working at San Diego State, Gonzales coached for New Mexico, working with the safeties and specialists from 2005-08.
“When the interview was over, I was supposed to interview two more guys,” Edwards. “I told the guys I was offering this guy the job. I like his energy and where he has come from. He worked to get to where he is and when you watch his guys on film, hoo-boy!”
Tony White, cornerbacks, defensive passing game coordinator: White spent the past eight seasons at San Diego State as the team’s cornerbacks coach and recruiting coordinator, giving him strong southern California ties.
Shaun Nua, defensive line: Nua spent the previous six seasons coaching the defensive line at the Naval Academy. He recruited northern California while he was at Navy. Before that, he was an assistant at BYU, his alma mater, for three seasons.
Charlie Fisher, wide receivers: Fisher has 30 years of coaching experience and spent the past two as head coach at Western Illinois. He was also the head coach at West Georgia from 1993-97. Fisher has spent time as an assistant coach at Penn State, Miami (Ohio), Vanderbilt, Temple, North Carolina State, West Georgia, Lenoir-Rhyne, Mississippi and Eastern Kentucky.
Shawn Slocum, associate head coach, special teams, outside linebackers: Slocum returns for his fourth season. Slocum coached with the Green Bay Packers from 2006-2014, spending the last six seasons as special teams coordinator.
Dave Christensen, offensive line: Christensen spent the 2017 season with the Sun Devil program in a non-coaching role and last coached the offensive line at Texas A&M during the 2015 season. He was Utah’s offensive coordinator and tight ends coach in 2014, and the head coach at Wyoming from 2009-13
Antonio Pierce, linebackers: Pierce, an Arizona alumnus, spent nine years in the NFL, splitting time with the Washington Redskins and New York Giants. He played in the 2006 Pro Bowl. Pierce, 39, was coaching at Long Beach Poly High in California before his hiring, which gives him strong recruiting ties to California’s Inland Empire.
Donnie Yantis, tight ends: Yantis was ASU’s assistant athletics director for football recruiting for two seasons. Prior to that, he was the head coach at Paradise Valley High School for 14 seasons and Arizona Christian University for two seasons.
- ASU football coach Herm Edwards, Blue Angels team up for wild ride
- New start: Herm Edwards brings fresh energy to ASU spring football
- Sun Devil football has a noticeably different vibe under Herm Edwards
- ASU football will reconnect student section at Sun Devil Stadium
- Arizona State to begin upgrading Camp Tontozona field