Stadium grades AD Ray Anderson’s big hires at Arizona State

Jun 20, 2020, 6:35 AM
ASU athletic director and VP for university athletics Ray Anderson (Matt Bertram/Arizona Sports)...
ASU athletic director and VP for university athletics Ray Anderson (Matt Bertram/Arizona Sports)
(Matt Bertram/Arizona Sports)

Stadium’s Jeff Goodman and Brett McMurphy believe Arizona State vice president for university athletics Ray Anderson is one of the best athletic directors in the Pac-12 based on Anderson’s football and men’s basketball coaching hires.

In a grading of Pac-12 ADs, the Stadium duo gave Anderson an A-minus for making two hires between the biggest money-making sports so far in his athletic director career.

Ray Anderson has made two hires, and he’s gone with big names on both. First, he brought on former Duke star Bobby Hurley after a couple of quality seasons at Buffalo. Hurley was set to go to his third straight NCAA tourney this past season, something that hasn’t been done in Tempe since the 1960s. Anderson grabbed former NFL coach Herm Edwards from ESPN a couple years ago and he’s been solid thus far with appearances in the Las Vegas and Sun Bowls.

Hurley is 93-69 at ASU (57.4%), leading Goodman and McMurphy to give Anderson an A-minus grade for the hire.

Edwards’ hire garnered a B-plus as he’s gone 15-11 (57.7%) with the Sun Devils.

ASU’s firing of former coach Todd Graham leading to the hire of Edwards was widely criticized before the 2018 season because the coach had spent nearly a decade working in television before returning to coaching. It didn’t help perception that the Sun Devils promoted the move as a rethinking of the leadership structure of a college football program.

Turns out, it worked out. Edwards has found success on the recruiting trail and in hiring the right coaches below him to turn ASU’s program in the right direction.

In hiring Hurley, Anderson landed a former college star and NBA player from a well-known basketball family. Like Edwards, Hurley has improved the team’s recruiting record, most recently landing five-star wing Josh Christopher.

Anderson has so far kept Hurley in Tempe despite the coach garnering interest from other schools over the past few offseasons.

In Stadium’s grading system, only Oregon AD Rob Mullens got as high of a mark as Anderson — he also got an A-minus.

The Arizona Wildcats were not represented as well by their AD, Dave Heeke. He earned a C grade for his football and men’s basketball hires at both Central Michigan and UA, where he has only hired head football coach Kevin Sumlin.

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