Herman Edwards ‘committed’ to Arizona State Sun Devils
TEMPE, Ariz. – When the name Herman Edwards first surfaced in connection to the Arizona State head coaching vacancy, people had questions. And when Edwards became a candidate — and perhaps the only candidate considered for the job — more questions emerged.
Answers to those questions, though, had to wait.
The wait ended Monday, when ASU formally introduced Edwards as head coach, the 24th in program history and the first African-American to hold the job.
Standing in front of a roomful of people, including his family and several former ASU players, inside the Coach’s Club at Sun Devil Stadium, Edwards answered some of the bigger questions raised concerning his hire.
And some he didn’t bother waiting for the question to be asked.
Edwards, 63, came prepared.
On the subject of his near 10-year absence from coaching football:
“Turn the TV on Wednesday. I’ll be back in studio in Bristol,” he said, referring to ESPN, where he’s been an NFL analyst for the past nine years. “And I’ll be coaching football, by the way. That’s what I do. I coach football. And I’ve been coaching football my whole life. They’ve given the ability to coach from a monitor. They’ve given me the ability to come in your home and coach.”
On the subject of whether the game may have passed him by, considering he has not been a coach since 2008 and not since 1989 on the college level:
“There’s a man that I played for, and you’ll know who he is, his name is Dick Vermeil,” he said, referring to the former Philadelphia Eagles head coach, who after some time away returned to coach the St. Louis Rams to the their first-ever Super Bowl victory. “Thirteen years later — after he retired — from being on television, he ended up being a pretty good coach, didn’t he? He didn’t forget how to coach. You don’t forget how to coach.”
On the subject being a CEO-type head coach:
“I believe you delegate things to people so they feel like they’re part of it. That’s important to me. I think when you delegate responsibility to coaches, you uplift them. You give them the courage to say, ‘Coach, can we think about this?’ I’m not one of those coaches that says, hey, we can’t change. I think sometimes change is growth,” he said. “I will delegate responsibilities to coordinators and to assistant coaches, and then I will hold them accountable for how those players play.”
On the subject of recruiting:
“It’s, obviously, looking at (a recruit’s) family members and asking them this question: What do you expect out your son but more than that, this is what I’m going to do for your son,” he said. “When he leaves my watch, hopefully he’ll be a graduate from here because I’m going to press him to do that, and whatever talent he has, I’ll exhaust it. And if he’s good enough athlete to go to the next level, he’ll be prepared mentally and physically. If not, he will leave here at this university with a degree, and hopefully he’ll say this: I’m a better man for playing under that guy.”
On the subject of his age:
“Who put a number on when you can coach football? Don’t tell that to Nick Saban. He’s 66. Don’t tell that to Roy Williams (67), Tom Izzo (62),” he said, referring to the Alabama football coach before the North Carolina and Michigan State head basketball coaches, respectively.
In addition to Edwards, school president Dr. Michael Crow (via satellite), athletic director Ray Anderson as well as Edwards’ agent, Phil de Picciotto, spoke during what was a 59-minute press conference.
Edwards planned to meet with the current football staff, which is in the midst of bowl preparation, and then once his ESPN duties officially end this Friday, will hit the recruiting trail first thing next week.
“I’m here to build a program on top of the foundation that’s already been built here. We’re here to be relevant in the Pacific-12. We want to be one of those teams that people say, ‘Hey, you go to Arizona State, you play in that stadium, be careful,’” he said.
“I’m proud to be the head coach here. And I promise you, whatever I have — and I got a whole lot, I got a whole lot — I will work tirelessly and I will be committed to the vision of Dr. Crow and Ray Anderson.”