Arizona State isn’t the only school looking for a new
football coach right now, but the opening in Tempe is one
of the most attractive in the country.
That’s the opinion of ESPN’s
Brock Huard, who ranked ASU as the second-best job
opening at the moment, behind North Carolina but ahead of
Illinois, UCLA and Ole Miss, Washington State and Kansas.
While North Carolina was the clear-cut winner among the
coaches and analysts I asked, the ASU job is desirable for
many of the other factors I listed in the introduction.
The stadium and facilities help with recruiting, athletic
director Lisa Love and the boosters have proved they are
willing to spend the necessary money, the Tempe area ranks
very high in the livability equation for the staff and the
campus environment has the capability to lure in recruits.
This last factor, however, also can make it difficult to
succeed as coach of the Sun Devils. As one former college
coach put it, “The weather, the campus, the party
environment can be a distraction, and difficult to focus
the student-athlete.” Another challenge for the next
Arizona State coach is that Phoenix is a pro sports town,
one with many residents who come from other parts of the
country, and the Suns, Diamondbacks and Cardinals tend to
dominate the conversation, especially when they are
There is a lot to like about the job, no question, but one
has to wonder why ASU has had to go through coaches at a
rate that would make the late Al Davis proud.
However, Huard notes the instability in the Pac-12 South
will help, and combined with the returns of Brock Osweiler
and Cameron Marshall could lead to a nice debut season for
the new coach, as most feel the pieces are in place for
immediate success. But ASU fans want more than just one
good year, as it’s worth noting Erickson went 10-3 in
his first season in Tempe, earning a share of the Pac-10
Erickson was not able to sustain that level of success,
ultimately leading to his dismissal. The good news is the
program is not in shambles; in fact, it may be in better
shape now than the last time Vice President of Athletics
Lisa Love was looking for a coach.
And, if Huard is right, ASU will be at the top of many