The news of Mack Brown’s resignation at Texas isn’t even a day old, and already rumors have been running wild about who will replace him.
Not surprisingly, Arizona State head coach Todd Graham, a native of Mesquite, Tex., has found himself in the mix of rumored candidates. Graham’s former athletic director, Steve Patterson, left to take the same job at Texas back on Nov. 5, so the fit would seemingly be a natural one.
However, during an appearance on Arizona Sports 620’s Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta on Nov. 12, Patterson said that Graham would not be following him to Austin — an agreement made between he and ASU president Michael Crow before the school allowed him to accept the AD job at Texas.
“That’s not going to happen,” Patterson said of Graham becoming the next coach at Texas. “You know, I sat down with Michael (Crow) and told him that wasn’t going to happen. The documentation will make sure that doesn’t happen.
“Todd’s going to be here, Todd’s happy here, Todd’s family’s happy here — I think he’s a really good fit at ASU, style-wise and with the community,” he said. “I think he’s going to have a lot of success here for a lot of years.”
In an ESPN insider piece, though, national college football writer Travis Haney suggested that that small detail would not be enough to derail Graham’s candidacy should Patterson and Texas president Bill Powers be interested in his services.
Arizona State head coach Todd Graham: There’s supposedly some legal entanglement that would prevent Graham from going to UT without the ASU president’s consent, but I cannot imagine a means by which that would hold up. It seemingly stemmed from disgruntlement over former Sun Devils athletic director Patterson leaving ASU to become the new AD in Austin.
If Patterson can convince the board and the president that Graham is a solid fit, he could rise.
Graham would be the ideal TV candidate. But then there’s always the he-moves-around-a-lot narrative (he spent just one season at Pittsburgh before leaving for the Arizona State job) that might not resonate well with the Horns.
In two seasons at ASU, Graham has led the Sun Devils to an 18-8 record and an appearance in the 2013 Pac-12 Championship Game. With a victory over Texas Tech in the National University Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28, ASU would have its first 11-win season since 1996.
In addition to Graham, Haney listed Art Briles (Baylor), David Shaw (Stanford), Gus Malzahn (Auburn), Jim Mora (UCLA), Jimbo Fisher (Florida State) and Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State) as other potential fits at Texas.