Pretty much from the moment Todd Graham was hired by Arizona State after just one season at Pittsburgh, jokes about the coach’s tendency to jump ship ran rampant.
Though Graham referred to ASU as his “dream job” and made it clear he planned on being in Tempe for a while, that did not stem the tide of negative analysis and feedback.
However, after a successful debut season that saw his team go 8-5, conversations about the coach have been less about where he is going than they have been about where his Sun Devils are heading.
A popular pick to win the Pac-12 South, 1-0 ASU is about to face an incredibly difficult part of its schedule. Survive, and the Devils could be major player this season and Graham a much-desired coach.
And as the Texas Longhorns continue to struggle, speculation is that coach Mack Brown may not be long for Austin. A native Texan, Graham would seem to be a good fit for one of the better jobs in the country.
Should it open up, of course.
When asked about the possibility of his coach leaving, ASU Athletic Director Steve Patterson told Arizona Sports 620’s Bickley with Marotta the trick is asking where Graham’s wife Penni would prefer to live, Tempe or Austin.
“She would take Tempe, Arizona over just about anywhere,” Patterson said, with a chuckle.
In truth, Patterson knows this is always a possibility with any coach, but it’s not something he’s worried about himself.
“We’re excited to have Todd here,” he said. “We’re working on finishing up a (contract) extension.
“He loves it here, he’s building something great.”
Graham originally signed a five-year contract with a base salary of roughly $2 million in December 2011.
And while an extension may seem a bit premature given the fact that Graham has yet to even get halfway into his second season with the school, the college coaching landscape dictates that schools spend money to keep quality coaches around.
Then again, if the Texas job does open up and the school does target Graham, there may be little Arizona State can do to keep him around.