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In Ray Anderson they trust

All indications point to Jeff Capel as the next head coach of Arizona State.

Jeff Capel has not been named as the head coach of Arizona State. Searching for sources who think someone other than Capel will be named Sun Devils’ head coach has turned up fruitless. It appears Arizona State is one Duke loss (or two Blue Devil wins) away from having a new head coach.

Although not the intent of the ASU athletic director, the story of Jeff Capel’s hire says more about Ray Anderson than it does about Jeff Capel. The groundswell of excitement over the news when fans and boosters discovered Steve Lavin was interested in the job was palpable. Even people on the staff of Ray Anderson pushed the athletic director to give Lavin a hard look. A few boosters came out of the woodwork stating their preference for Lavin and his west coast ties.

Ray Anderson listened to opinions coming from all directions and seems to be in the final stages of wrapping up a deal with Jeff Capel. The story is how many other people who would prefer Lavin, still, and completely support Anderson.

In no way should any ASU fan walk away with the idea that Lavin was everyone else’s choice and Anderson stubbornly refused to listen. It’s the exact opposite. The Lavin supporters feel like their voice was heard and a vast majority still stand by Anderson in any decision he makes.

Unlike so many Arizona State athletic directors of the past, Anderson has earned so much respect in such a short time that there is no in-fighting or anger over a decision as major as the head coach of a major conference men’s basketball team. Most dissenters at other schools would quietly sit back rooting for the failure of the new guy to spell doom for the AD that chose the “wrong” candidate. This is not the dynamic at Arizona State.

From day one of the search, this has been Ray Anderson’s decision. No search firm. Anderson has listened to others but hasn’t felt the need to build a consensus. Amazingly, almost every ASU insider says they are fine with that.

If Steve Lavin is named head coach next week, it seems most fans will be excited for the future. If Jeff Capel is hired, most ASU fans will simply say, “In Ray We Trust.”