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Memphis hires Mike Norvell as new head coach

Arizona State offensive coordinator Mike Norvell cheers on his offensive unit during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Arizona Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Arizona State offensive coordinator Mike Norvell is headed east.

Norvell was announced as the new head coach of the Memphis Tigers in a press conference Friday.

“This is a special day,”Norvell said in his introduction. “To stand in front of you today, words cannot describe how honored I am.”

Reports of Norvell’s departure began coming out Thursday evening:

The Memphis position was available after former head coach Justin Fuente accepted the head coaching position at Virginia Tech.

Norvell, 34, has been with the Sun Devils since 2012 and has served as the deputy head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Known for his recruiting prowess, Norvell was promoted to deputy head coach in December 2013.

He had worked with Arizona State head football coach Todd Graham for the past eight seasons, including stays at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Tulsa.

This season in a 6-6 effort, the Sun Devils ranked sixth in points in the Pac-12 with 34 points per game.

The focal point of the offense was the passing game, which ranked third in the Pac-12 for passing yards with 289 yards per game.

In ASU’s back-to-back ten win seasons in 2013 and 2014, the Sun Devils ranked in the top three in the conference for points both seasons. The 2013 team averaged 39.7 points per game, trailing only the best of the best in Oregon’s 45.5 points per game.

Earlier in the season, Norvell said that he had “not done a good enough job.”

Norvell leaving was not the only news involving Arizona State coaches on Thursday, as co-defensive coordinator Chris Ball interviewed for the head coaching position at Montana State.

For 2016, the offense is headed into a transition, with fifth year senior Mike Bercovici graduating and a stable of unproven but talented passers in waiting.

They will also be losing three of their four leading receivers to graduation in Devin Lucien, D.J. Foster and Gary Chambers.

The widespread appeal of the job has to be the running game. Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage, both only sophomores, combined for 1,677 yards and 11 touchdowns. The duo averaged 5.4 yards per carry, but it is worth noting that the offensive line is losing four starters due to graduation.

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