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Marvin Lewis, Antonio Pierce step up following ASU coaching upheaval

ASU football special advisor Marvin Lewis watches Arizona Cardinals training camp on Thursday, July 25, 2019 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. (Photo: Logan Newman/98.7 Arizona Sports)

If you were to visit the office of Antonio Pierce in ASU football’s building, it might take you a moment to read everything that’s on the door.

As of now, the school’s website lists pierce as an associate head coach, linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator. But he’s also going to be the co-defensive coordinator with Marvin Lewis, following the departure of Tony White to Syracuse.

“I said, ‘You have more titles? You could get fired three times and still have a job,'” head coach Herm Edwards joked Monday.

Edwards joined Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station for Newsmakers Week and explained what it’s been like lately with some of the coaching changes. For instance, offensive coordinator Rob Likens was let go, defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales left to be the head coach at New Mexico, and his replacement, Tony White, left without ever serving as DC for one game.

Herm Edwards on coaching staff changes: Newsmakers week

ASU football head coach Herm Edwards tells more about the recent coaching changes and how Marvin Lewis' promotion came about.

Posted by 98.7 Arizona Sports on Monday, February 10, 2020

“It’s kind of ironic. I was visiting with [Pierce] yesterday, and I said, you know there’s only three guys that are still here from the former staff when we were first hired, and it’s A.P., it’s Coach Shawn Slocum, our special teams coach, and [offensive line coach Dave] Christensen. And everyone else has kind of changed. Some have gone on and [sought] different opportunities. Some because of change in philosophy, but the thing we do know in college and in pro and any sport, in sports, it’s always change.”

White leaving for Syracuse was only the latest in a carousel of changes for ASU football, and Edwards was fortunate that then-special advisor Marvin Lewis, who was previously the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, was ready to step in.

“When it came up … I had a list, but before I got to the list, Marv walks in the door, and he says, ‘I got you,'” Edwards said. “And I went, ‘What? You have what?’ He said, ‘I got it.’ The next thing I told him, I said, ‘Let me get this right. Have you told Peggy, your wife, that you’re going to do this? Because I’ve got to clear it with her, first.’ He said, ‘Coach, I’m in.'”

Lewis and Pierce make up the co-defensive coordinator tandem. Edwards said Lewis will be upstairs while Pierce will be on the field, and Lewis will call the plays.

“The great part, the big circle, Antonio played for Marvin in Washington when Marvin was the coordinator,” Edwards said. “So he understands the defense.”


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