Arizona State Sun Devils hire Kenny Dillingham as head football coach

Nov 27, 2022, 8:48 AM | Updated: 2:08 pm
(University of Oregon Photo)...
(University of Oregon Photo)
(University of Oregon Photo)

Arizona State announced Kenny Dillingham as the next head coach of the Sun Devil football team on Sunday. The coach is scheduled to be introduced at 10 a.m.

This year was Dillingham’s first season as Oregon’s offensive coordinator and the first time he’s been under a defense-focused head coach who has given him the keys to call plays. The Ducks’ regular season finished on Saturday with a loss to Oregon State, 38-34. They were 9-3 on the year.

“We are proud to announce Kenny Dillingham as our new head football coach,” vice president of university athletics Ray Anderson said in a statement. “He brings the energy, knowledge and appreciation of our state and university that is valued by all of us.

“His knowledge of the current college football landscape, learned by coaching across the nation, is needed and wanted at ASU.”

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.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be named the head coach at Arizona State University,” Dillingham said. “This is a special place to myself and my wife, who is also a graduate.

“I truly believe the team we will build here is one that the state of Arizona and all Sun Devils can rally behind and be proud of as it will take everyone in the Valley to help this program achieve the level of success it is due.”

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.

“Kenny Dillingham knows what it takes to be an elite program, and he has enjoyed success each time he joined a program,” president Michael Crow said. “His offenses are dynamic, and he understands recruiting, the importance of NIL and the need to connect with Sun Devils past and present.

“We are committed to athletic success, and Sun Devil Football is an important part of the success of the university.”

The Sun Devils, who have now made their second football coaching hire under the leadership of Anderson, parted ways with Herm 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.

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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