Kenny Dillingham brings many Arizona connections to ASU football

Nov 29, 2022, 10:16 AM | Updated: 11:06 am
11 Nov 1995:  Defensive end Vince Amey of the Arizona State Sun Devils makes a tackle during a game...
11 Nov 1995: Defensive end Vince Amey of the Arizona State Sun Devils makes a tackle during a game against the California Golden Bears at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California. Arizona State won the game 38-29. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule Jr. /All

Born, raised and educated in the Arizona State University community, Sun Devils football’s new head coach Kenny Dillingham has developed a plethora of relationships in the Valley.

In his introductory press conference Sunday, the 32-year-old shared several ways he’s connected to the Valley:

  • Eighth-generation Arizonan
  • Went to high school at Chaparral
  • Graduated from ASU in 2012 with a degree in business and economics
  • His wife Bri was a varsity dance team member at ASU
  • Family full of ASU grads
  • Graduate assistant coach from 2014-15 under former ASU HC Todd Graham

Growing up as a Sun Devil faithful, Dillingham frequented ASU football games. He even recalled childhood memories of throwing the pigskin in the parking lot during the Jake Plummer era (1993-96).

“We’d go and tailgate out in the parking lot,” Dillingham said Sunday. “I was one of those little kids at the motor home throwing the football, trying not to get hit by a car.”

Part of his mission as head coach is to build lasting relationships with the community. However, he mentioned that the program needs to build those relationships sooner than a recruit’s junior year of high school.

Moreover, having the proper knowledge and passion for the community will only help bridge the gap between player and program.

So far, he’s made three coaching staff decisions, all of which have ties to the Arizona community.

Shaun Aguano

Aguano won four state titles in five years as Chandler High School’s head coach and made a lot of headway in local recruiting during his stint as ASU’s interim head coach this season.

The Arizona Football Coaches Association even wrote a letter of recommendation for Aguano as the next Sun Devils full-time head coach.

Joe Connolly

Connolly is the head coach of football sports performance and will be going into his sixth year on Arizona State’s coaching staff when the 2023 season commences.

Charlie Ragle

Ragle coached and mentored Dillingham at Chaparral High School.

In five seasons as head coach, he went 63-7 and won three state championships. He also coached at Arizona from 2012-16.

Vince Amey

Amey is an ASU alum and former NFL and Arena Football League defensive end. He also coached with Dillingham and Ragle at Chaparral in 2011 before coaching at Arizona from 2012-17.

In 2018, he served as the defensive coordinator at Marana High School.

Other connections Dillingham mentioned in his introductory press conference:

  • Nap Lawrence – ASU booster who donated $1 million to the Sun Angel Collective to help recruiting.
  • Mike Norvell – ASU assistant while Dillingham was a graduate assistant.

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Kenny Dillingham brings many Arizona connections to ASU football