Herm Edwards, Arizona State football agree to part ways
The Arizona State Sun Devils parted ways with head coach Herm Edwards after a poor start to the 2022 season, the school announced Sunday.
The move comes amid an NCAA investigation into the football program over allegations of recruiting violations.
While Edwards was given the green light to return after the team defeated the rival Arizona Wildcats to end the 2021 regular season in December, pressure mounted after ASU’s 1-2 start to the year, including a 30-21 loss to Eastern Michigan at home.
“We have made the decision to make a change in the leadership of our football program, effective immediately,” Vice President of University Athletics Ray Anderson said in a statement. “By mutual agreement Coach Edwards and I have determined that he will relinquish duties as our head coach. At the core of this is doing what is best for our current team, staff and university. I understand the frustrations out there. We must do better and that starts with our decision today.”
Edwards went 26-20 overall and 17-14 in Pac-12 play as ASU’s head coach. The Sun Devils made three bowl games in his four full seasons on the job, going 1-2 in those matchups.
SunDevilSource’s Chris Karpman first reported the news.
Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro confirmed that running backs coach Shaun Aguano will be take over as interim head coach.
ASU quarterback Emory Jones said the team all week was not locked in to the little details which showed a lack of preparation in the loss.
The Sun Devils had not lost to a non-Power 5 conference opponent at home since 2008.
Notably, the Sun Devils lost both of their coordinators to resignations related to the investigation during the offseason, the team put together its worst recruiting class on record and starting quarterback Jayden Daniels went from announcing a return for a fourth season at ASU to entering the transfer portal.
Edwards went 26-20 (17-14 in Pac-12 play) over four-plus years at ASU after taking over for former head coach Todd Graham, who was fired in 2017. Edwards was also 1-2 in three bowl games.
On June 16, The Athletic’s Doug Haller was first to report on the team’s misdeeds during the COVID-19 dead period in 2020.
Haller reported it was unclear how much Edwards was involved in the investigation, being that he relied heavily on former associate head coach and defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce for recruiting efforts.
Pete Thamel, formerly of Yahoo! Sports, reported in detail that Pierce was the one who led the charge in pushing the boundaries of allowing recruits to visit Arizona State’s campus during the dead period.
Thamel reported that an anonymous person sent the school’s athletic department “dozens of pages” of evidence regarding the recruiting practices.
Pierce resigned from the program on National Signing Day (Feb. 3) as his Sun Devils’ 2022 recruiting class ranked 105th in the nation, per 247 Sports. It had never rated lower than 65th since the 247 Sports recruiting rankings database began in 1999.
Earlier on in 2022, ASU removed former ASU wide receivers coach Prentice Gill and secondary coach Chris Hawkins, while tight ends coach Adam Breneman resigned. The trio was on administrative leave the entire 2021 season amid the investigation.
Offensive coordinator Zak Hill also resigned in January due to his apparent involvement in recruiting malpractices.
ASU hired former UNLV offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas to replace Hill and the promotion of former interim defensive backs coach Donnie Henderson to defensive coordinator. The program also announced the promotions of Juston Wood to tight ends coach and Bobby Wade to wide receivers coach. Missouri’s Aaron Fletcher was named the team’s new defensive backs coach a week earlier in the month.
Edwards, who came in talking about a turning ASU into a pro style approach, will go down as a controversial hire for Anderson. The former NFL head coach and long-time ESPN analyst had never directed a college program and hadn’t coached since 2008, when he was fired as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.
His only college coaching experience came as a defensive backs coach at San Jose State from 1987-89.