ASU should replace Herm Edwards with Brian Flores amid investigation
Feb 2, 2022, 5:13 PM | Updated: Feb 3, 2022, 8:01 am
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
On Groundhog Day, it was confirmed to Arizona Sports by Arizona State University that Antonio Pierce was no longer employed by the school. The man who unlocked the California recruiting pipeline was fleeing the scene before spit hit the fan.
It was another reminder that nothing ever changes with ASU football, the sport’s mythical sleeping giant. The program that titillates, teases and never fails to let you down.
Five coaches are now gone from a staff that broke bad during a pandemic. Pathetically, Herm Edwards is still standing and still employed, a battered shell of his former bombastic self. In the best-case scenario, he was a doddering old fool who couldn’t see beneath his nose, and that alone makes him unfit to run a Division I program with Rose Bowl aspirations.
There are deep laments from diehards, regrets how ASU whiffed badly on their moment in the sun, at a time when USC was in the quivering hands of Clay Helton, when top West Cost recruits were fleeing for the SEC and college football was a cesspool in Southern California.
There is also a tragic acknowledgment of human error. Pierce and his crew scored many victories on the recruiting trail. They began to flex on social media, creating energy, swagger and real momentum. Their cockiness and sense of purpose legitimately scared the rest of the conference. And by all appearances, they got greedy. Careless. Reckless. Busted.
There was a time when Barry Bonds didn’t need to cheat to be great. But in the heat and the height of the Steroid Era, everything he ever wanted suddenly seemed within reach. He crossed a line and paid a terrible price. The same is true with his alma mater’s football program.
ASU didn’t need to cheat to get where they were going. They were already on their way.
Some memories will go down hard. The mountaintop seemed so close when Jayden Daniels beat Michigan State on the road in 2019. Or when Daniels outdueled Justin Herbert in a subsequent win over Oregon. Now what?
Here’s what: Athletics boss Ray Anderson should swing for the fences and hire Brian Flores, the former Dolphins head coach currently suing the NFL. Flores is clearly a gifted leader, winning in Miami with an inferior quarterback and a terrible owner. He’s noble, brave, awake and not afraid of a colossal fight. He might even be something of a folk hero to potential recruits in the very near future.
On the other side, Anderson is a former top NFL executive. He holds something of a grudge against his former NFL employers. He is the perfect athletic director to break ranks, hire Flores and immediately change the narrative at ASU.
You will never find a better candidate for a more hopeless moment in Tempe. Where the football program never misses the opportunity to miss an opportunity.
Reach Bickley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.