Ray Anderson’s successor at Arizona State has a few key tasks

Nov 15, 2023, 5:44 PM | Updated: Mar 5, 2024, 11:02 am

Ray Anderson...

Former Arizona State Athletic Director Ray Anderson walks on the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma State Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, in Tempe, Ariz. Ray Anderson is stepping down after nearly a decade as Arizona State's athletic director. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

It’s a pivotal time for college athletics, and Ray Anderson understands that. It’s a big part of why Arizona State’s now-former vice president for university athletics decided to resign.

Much of what’s coming his successor’s way is centered around the Sun Devils’ impending move to the Big 12 along with name, image and likeness. Anderson, on the final iteration of his Anderson & Healey Show podcast, explained that the Big 12 is a “supreme basketball conference,” which means upgrades to the home of ASU basketball, Desert Financial Arena, are required.

“We need to upgrade Desert Financial Arena. That’s no secret to anyone,” Anderson said. “We haven’t been able to get that done yet, but I have great confidence that it is on the docket and will have to be addressed going forward.” 

Anderson sees arena improvements as “inevitable,” because in a conference like the Big 12, it’s a must “if we’re gonna maximize the opportunity to revenue create at the level we need.”

In February 2022, Anderson said the arena was in “dire” need of upgrades and more than 18 months later, it has received little-to-no attention.

Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark has told Anderson he’s aiming to reduce the financial gap between the Big 12 and the SEC, and that’s one area Anderson admits ASU is behind.

Anderson said his successor has to have “the ability to convince ASU fans and donors and alum and boosters to [support financially] very frankly at a higher level. If we want to compete with the best in the Big 12, then we are going to have to invest at a higher level.” He added NIL plays a direct part in transfer portal success as well.

Sun Angel Collective, the official NIL collective of Sun Devil athletics, has doubled its pool of monthly membership donors in the few days since Anderson’s resignation, according to SunDevilSource.

“If there’s one thing that I can say proudly is whoever succeeds me, they’re gonna have a lot in place because there’s a lot on a great trajectory … I feel like I’m leaving at a good time and leaving the program in very solid shape for the next person coming in,” Anderson said. 

Anderson resigned on Monday after leading the athletic department since 2014.

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