Arizona State DC Antonio Pierce: No concern over job amid recruiting investigation

Aug 18, 2021, 2:49 PM
Arizona State coach Antonio Pierce talks with players during the team’s first preseason practice ...
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)
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

Speaking for the first time since an NCAA investigation began, Antonio Pierce, the top assistant coach on Herm Edwards’ Arizona State football staff, sidestepped several questions regarding his involvement in alleged recruiting violations that have led three other assistants to be placed on paid leave.

“It’s real simple. I don’t got no comment on it,” Pierce said Wednesday. “Obviously, you know what’s going on, and we’re working with the guys we got here and the coaches we got here.”

In June, Yahoo! Sports’ Pete Thamel reported in detail that Pierce led the charge in pushing the boundaries of allowing recruits to visit Arizona State’s campus during the dead period.

How he pushed other coaches to do the same, Thamel added, led to disgruntled current and former employees.

The Athletic’s Doug Haller was first to report on the NCAA investigation.

Pierce holds significant power in the program and three titles on the Sun Devils’ staff: associate head coach, defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator.

On Wednesday, he was asked three more times about the allegations against Arizona State.

Because tight ends coach Adam Breneman, receivers coach Prentice Gill and defensive backs coach Chris Hawkins are on paid administrative leave due to their own involvement in the alleged rule-breaking, Pierce was asked if he is concerned about his job status.

“Nope,” he said.

Pierce did not respond on a follow-up question about whether he was concerned at all.

The assistant coach was then asked if he felt any responsibility about the state of the program considering his title as recruiting coordinator.

“I have no comment on that,” Pierce said.

Pierce spent four years as the head coach at Long Beach Poly High School in California before he was hired as linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator in 2018. He retained his recruiting coordinator role but was elevated to associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator last season.

He became the sole defensive coordinator when NFL veteran coach Marvin Lewis stepped down this past year.

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