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Report: ASU DC Antonio Pierce spoke with Arizona about head coach job

Arizona State coach Antonio Pierce talks with players during the team’s first preseason practice Wednesday, July 31, 2019, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

The next head coach for the Arizona Wildcats could come from just up the road in Tempe as Arizona State co-defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce has had “serious conversations” with the school about the position, according to Sun Devil Source.

Sun Devils Source adds that Pierce “is interested in the job opening.”

The former Pro Bowl linebacker joined head coach Herm Edwards’ staff in December 2017 and has been an important part for not only the defense but also recruiting.

“Antonio Pierce has established himself as one of the elite recruiters in the nation and is one of the brightest up-and-coming coaches around,” Edwards said when announcing Pierce’s promotion to associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator in February.

Along with helping the Sun Devils acquire the No. 23 ranked recruiting class in the nation in 2020, according to 247Sports’ Composite Rankings, Pierce aided a defense in 2019 that was 35th in scoring defense.

Arizona State’s defense finished 99th or worse in the previous two seasons before Pierce’s arrival in Tempe.

“His impact with the linebackers and with the Sun Devil program in just two seasons has been tangible and he has been a pivotal part in our defensive success since his arrival in Tempe,” Edwards said.

Tucson wouldn’t be new to Pierce.

He played college football for the Wildcats and recorded three sacks, 77 tackles (10 for losses), two forced fumbles, one interception and a blocked kick for the team as a senior.

Across nine seasons in the NFL, four with the Washington Football Team and five with the New York Giants, Pierce accumulated 535 solo tackles, seven interceptions, eight forced fumbles and 9.0 sacks across 124 games.

San Jose State head coach Brent Brennan and New England Patriots quarterback coach Jedd Fischer are also under consideration for the job, according to Sun Devil Source.

The new head coach would be replacing Kevin Sumlin, who was fired after a 70-7 loss to ASU and an overall record of 9-20 across two-and-a-half seasons.