ASU’s Kenny Dillingham: ‘I am not going to turn this place around, we are’
The excitement for college football in the Valley feels palpable for the first time amid NCAA sanctions stemming from the previous Arizona State coaching regime’s actions.
The Sun Devils opened a new chapter in its football story by signing Oregon offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham as the Sun Devils head coach on Sunday.
Dillingham takes over following Herm Edwards’ five years at the helm that was capped of by an ongoing investigation into recruiting violations that was opened in June 2021. The head coach was asked how concerned he was with the sanctions, only being on the job for six days.
“I’m not too concerned with things we can’t control,” the head coach told Bickley & Marotta on Arizona Sports. “We’re gonna put together the best team, we’re gonna build the best culture, we’re gonna get this Valley behind this program.
“I am not going to turn this place around. We are and I absolutely mean that.”
The 32-year-old head coach will be the youngest across all Power Five conference teams. Despite coaching since 2013, this will be Dillingham’s first rodeo as a head coach at any level.
His experience with Oregon, Florida State, Auburn and Memphis make him feel comfortable in the saddle of a job filled with unknowns.
After finishing dead last in recruiting in 2022, Dillingham is confident he can turn the ship around with the right recruiting pitch.
He played quarterback and coached for Scottsdale Chaparral High School before moving to coach Todd Graham’s staff at ASU, meaning he has great familiarity with the Arizona high school football scene.
“This is a place you could go to play football at a high level and build connections that will help you for the next 50 to 60 years of your life,” Dillingham said. “If you have a career in the NFL great, if you don’t, capitalize on those connections to help you be successful in life. That’s something we have here that most places do not have.
“I want people who want to be Sun Devils. I want people who walk into that building and say, ‘Man, am I lucky. Man, I cannot wait to go to work today.'”