Dillingham: Arizona State extending defensive coordinator Brian Ward 3 years

Nov 2, 2023, 9:45 AM

Arizona State DL BJ Green...

Defensive lineman B.J. Green II #35 of the Arizona State Sun Devils celebrates after a sack against the Colorado Buffaloes during the first half of the NCAAF game at Mountain America Stadium on October 07, 2023 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona State head coach Kenny Dillingham sees progress in his football team regardless of the 2-6 record. He’s process-oriented and has his head down to focus on the day, but the Sun Devils’ first-year leader also knows sustainability is important with his team in the foundational stages of building the program.

With that, Dillingham announced on his weekly radio show Sparky’s Den with Kenny Dillingham, which airs on ESPN 620 AM, that defensive coordinator Brian Ward has been extended for the next three seasons.

“Kudos to our president (Michael Crow), kudos to our AD (Ray Anderson): We got a deal in place to lock Coach Ward up at ASU for the next three years,” Dillingham said as an aside after discussing defensive lineman B.J. Green’s success this year. “It’s pretty exciting to keep him here for the next three years. It just shows that the direction from the athletic director to the president, we’re all in alignment to get the things done at a rate to get ’em done.

“I think (Ward is) one of the first coordinators to get extended this year … (in) all college football, which just shows the direction of the athletic department and where we’re heading.”

Dillingham said Ward will likely not be the last current staff member to receive an extension before the end of the regular season.

Ward’s unit has been impressive, especially given the circumstances and offensive woes that have stemmed from a quarterback carousel and an offensive line riddled with injuries.

Most notably, ASU ranks 19th in the nation by allowing 104.4 rushing yards per game and is tied for 32nd by allowing 5.1 yards per play overall.

Despite facing the seventh-post pass attempts per game as opponents have attempted to attack the Sun Devils through the air, Arizona State is a reasonable 83rd is passing yards allowed per game.’s Chris Karpman reports Ward’s extension includes an “expensive buyout” and “sizeable raise.”

Ward is from Glendale, Ariz., and has coached at Glendale Community College before leading McPherson College as head coach in 2007-09.

He’s moved up the ranks and most recently spent time as Washington State’s defensive coordinator last year. He held the same title at Nevada in 2020-21 and at Syracuse in 2016-19.

“He’s done a fantastic job and just as important … he wants to be here,” Dillingham said. “He grew up delivering water bottles to the Sun Devil Stadium. He’s from high school right up the road. This is a job he’s always wanted to have. So, the combination of having a guy who’s a good person, who’s a really good football coach, who wants to be here, that doesn’t happen very much in college football.”

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