Report: Arizona State to hire Oregon OC Kenny Dillingham as head football coach

Nov 26, 2022, 5:55 PM | Updated: Nov 27, 2022, 2:08 pm

(Photo via Kenny Dillingham/Twitter)

(Photo via Kenny Dillingham/Twitter)

Oregon Ducks offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham is working to finalize a deal on Saturday to become the head football coach for the Arizona State Sun Devils, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported.

A player at Chaparral High School, Dillingham became an assistant coach there as a senior after tearing his ACL in 2007. He eventually became offensive coordinator at the Scottsdale football powerhouse before taking an offensive assistant role with Todd Graham’s Arizona State staff in 2014.

Dillingham followed former ASU offensive coordinator Mike Norvell to coach the Memphis Tigers in 2016. Beginning as a graduate assistant, by 2018 he had become offensive coordinator.

The young coach departed for Auburn and joined head coach Gus Malzahn’s staff in 2019, then rejoined Norvell the next season when his boss earned the head-coaching job for Florida State.

This year was Dillingham’s first year as Oregon offensive coordinator and the first time he’s been under a defense-focused head coach who has given him the keys to call plays. He’s navigated the Dan Lanning-led Ducks to rank fourth in points (40.2) and third in yards per game (511.2) through 11 games this year.

The Sun Devils, who have now made their second football coaching hire under the leadership of vice president for university athletics Ray Anderson, parted ways with Edwards on Sept. 18, after a poor start to the 2022 season.

The move came amid a still-unfinished 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 as he lost assistant head coach, recruiting coordinator and defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce, as well as offensive coordinator Zak Hill, in the offseason.

With Pierce disconnected from his recruiting duties over the 2021 season due to the NCAA investigation, ASU put together one of the worst recruiting classes in its history.

ASU posted the 52nd-ranked class in 2021, according to 247 Sports, but was ranked No. 103 nationally and last in the Pac-12. While the Sun Devils ranked 16th in the country and No. 3 in the conference in terms of their 2022 transfer class, the transfers out — including quarterback Jayden Daniels — hit the Sun Devils hard.

ASU’s 1-2 start to the year included a 30-21 loss to Eastern Michigan at home that preceded Edwards’ firing.

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.

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