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It's tough to get a feel for the recruiting style of the journeyman Todd Graham.
Todd Graham shocked many (and tempted karma) with his move from Pittsburgh to Arizona State. What offensive personnel will he inherit in his first season in the desert?
Todd Graham had a flight to catch and a press conference to get to on Wednesday morning, resulting in a hastily assembled text message to his players at Pitt and a somewhat messy departure. It was just under a year ago that Graham took the Pitt job, but it didn't take him long to flee town for the head coaching position at Arizona State. And just hours after Graham resigned from Pitt, he was introduced as the Sun Devils' next head coach at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
Graham was the only person offered the job, university president Michael Crow said, hoping to dispel some of the 'myths' of the Sun Devils' coaching search. Athletic director Lisa Love also felt Graham would treat Arizona State as a destination, not another jumping off point as he hopes between jobs. The Sun Devils head coaching job will be Graham's fourth in the last six years, though Love was confident he will be a long-term fit.
Concerning the way he left Pitt, Graham expressed regret, wishing he could have met with the team to inform them of his decision. He was also aware of how his job-hopping could affect his reputation, but was hoping to build the trust of the university, fans and recruits back up.
And yes, "high octane offense" made an appearance repeatedly during the press conference. Graham is excited to hop in his '87 Firebird of an offense, saying he plans to "put it in the left lane, hammer down, and we won't let up."
ESPN's Joe Schad is reporting that Graham asked permission from Pitt AD Steve Pederson to speak with Arizona State about their vacancy. Pederson told Graham he was not allowed to speak with them and he promptly resigned three hours later so that he could take the job.
Of course, if this timing is true, that raises a few questions. Clearly, this move has been in the works for at least a little bit of time. The chances that Graham asked permission, got denied, then spoke to ASU and took the job seems unlikely. Schad has also reported that "Pittsburgh is waiting to hear back from ASU," likely on this issue.
For more Graham's hiring from the Sun Devil perspective, head to House of Sparky; for more from the Panthers' side, visit Cardiac Hill. For more on the 2011 college football coaching carousel, check out our dedicated section.
Pittsburgh coach Todd Graham is leaving the Steel City after one year to take the same position at ASU.
If the Penn St. Nittany Lions and Arizona St. Sun Devils were looking into Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham as a potential coaching replacement, as had been reported, they'll need to keep looking. The Utes had reportedly given Whittingham a contract extension nearly a moon ago, announcing said extension Monday.
"Before Thanksgiving, I offered him an increase in his salary. He did not solicit it and added a year to his contract," [athletic director Chris] Hill said. "We made an amendment to his contract and not some big, long-out thing. So it was a relatively quick situation."
The deal bumps Whittingham's salary to $2 million per year, which would rank him fourth in the Pac-12 according to last year's figures, though that's before big deals for Mike Leach and Rich Rodriguez.
Utah Utes coach Kyle Whittingham, the coaching target du jour, is in line for a contract extension, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. Whittingham had been a reported subject of interest from both the Penn St. Nittany Lions and Arizona St. Sun Devils over the weekend.
His new deal, according to the report, will pay him around $2 million per year, a raise from his $1.7 million mark (and a full half-mill more than Arizona State was paying Dennis Erickson). The deal's been agreed to for some time now, making the latest rush of rumors all the more fruitless.
In response to the contract news, Utes blog Block U has taken it down a notch to WHITCON 4:
Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham is apparently the next item up for bid. After being connected to the Penn St. Nittany Lions job, he's now also reportedly a target of the Arizona St. Sun Devils, according to both Fox Sports Arizona and the Arizona Republic.
Those are the only major jobs left vacant at the moment. The ASU gig would seem to be something of a lateral move, though, now that both are Pac-12 schools. This year, Utah paid Whittingham more money than ASU paid Dennis Erickson.
Whittingham has coached with the Utes since 1994, since 2005 as head coach. He's piloted Utah to a 65-25 record in the Mountain West and Pac-12, two BCS bowl wins, eight straight bowl bids, and a near miss of a division title in the program's first Pac-12 season.
Utes blog Block U was already freaking out a little about the PSU report. Pray they take this news easy.
Now that the UCLA Bruins and Texas A&M Aggies have their guys, the Arizona St. Sun Devils boast the last major program without a head coach. The Penn St. Nittany Lions as well, but that's kind of a special circumstance, wouldn't you agree?
After many reports from all over that SMU Mustangs coach June Jones was inches from replacing Dennis Erickson only to be usurped by boosters, ASU saw fit to release the following Saturday night statement in defense of itself. Here it is:
ASU does not comment on searches for deans, faculty, administrators or coaches. When we hire a new football coach and a contract is signed, we will announce that selection and introduce the coach at a press conference and to groups of ASU alumni, staff and supporters. Rumors of all sorts - the vast majority of them completely unfounded - have been flying about. An extraordinary number of inaccurate news reports, usually attributed to unnamed sources, have been published. In some cases these sources have no knowledge of the situation and are making guesses; in others they may be deliberate misrepresentations by people who have or believe they have a stake in the negotiations. We caution all Sun Devil fans to read and listen to these reports with a healthy amount of skepticism and to rest assured that we are pursuing a broad, thorough and highly professional search for a new football coach.
Thorough -- yes, definitely.
Now that the big names are off the market and SMU Mustangs coach June Jones has been forced to explain to his players that he's fully committed to the Dallas program, the Arizona St. Sun Devils still need a new coach. One they'll go ahead and actually sign this time, once they agree to a deal.
Now, among the names mentioned are ex-South Florida coach Jim Leavitt, Tennessee defensive coordinator (and former Oregon player) Justin Wilcox and Washington offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto.
Star-studded, but don't forget about former Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks coach Jim Mora, Jr., who's publicly stumped for the job and has been angling for a Pac-12 gig for many years now. Not sure why a defensive coach would want to scheme against Rich Rodriguez, Mike Leach, and Chip Kelly in succession, but we all have ambitions in life.
SMU's June Jones will not become the next head coach at Arizona State, according to the school's COO.
"June Jone is not going to be our coach. The process continues," said Steve Patterson, ASU's Chief operating officer, in an interview with FOX 26 Sports.
Things changed quickly between the school and Jones, according to the Arizona Republic.
"A source confirmed that both parties were in the process of finalizing the contract's final details when ASU President Michael Crow ended the discussion."
Jones' agent, Leigh Steinberg just posted on his blog about the ordeal, which was as bizarre as it sounds.
Just had one of the most bizarre endings to a set of productive discussions to bring a client to a new situation. Everything was set,few tweaks left,and the principal decision maker yanks the deal w no real explanation.
Word is that Arizona State boosters were a key reason for the change in negotiations as they were unhappy with Jones as the replacement for Dennis Erickson.
ASU blog House of Sparky is concerned with what this most recent snag says about the school.
So now ASU is back to where it was two days ago, but now with the stain of ineptness and more indications that they lack the heart needed to make a hire that can truly move the university's needle.
Talks between the Arizona State Sun Devils and SMU Mustangs coach June Jones have broken down and Jones is apparently no longer a sure thing to be the new ASU head football coach, according to the Arizona Republic.
The big holdup seems to have come from ASU boosters, who apparently feel as though Jones is Dennis Erickson 2.0. Arizona State boosters likely want to trend young and go with a newer face to the college football coaching game instead of hiring older, more established candidates on the downside of their career.
And so, it's back to the drawing board for the Sun Devils, who can't waste too much time before signing day looms any closer. As for Jones, it's going to make a very awkward discussion with his bosses at SMU, especially now that the Mustangs are about to join the Big East.
And as SB Nation Arizona points out, it looks like a big blunder by the ASU athletic director Lisa Love.
That the boosters were so firmly against this move seems to reflect a lack of communication between the athletic department and the ASU community, and could spell the beginning of the end for her.
Southern Methodist Mustangs head coach June Jones has reportedly pulled his coaching staff off the recruiting trail and asked them to assemble for a morning meeting, leading to speculation that Jones is going to become the next head coach for the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Pete Roussel of CoachingSearch.com confirms the meeting and that Jones is likely headed to Arizona State and John Gambarado of Arizona Sports 620 reports a press conference introducing Jones as the next Sun Devils head coach could occur on "Thursday or Friday".
ESPN's Joe Schad tweeted that the school is preparing to announce Jones as its next coach.
The 58-year-old Jones has compiled a 99-69 record as a college head coach, including a 76-41 mark in nine seasons at Hawaii and a 23-28 mark over the last four seasons at SMU. Jones would bring his up-tempo, run-and-shoot offense to the Pac-12, which could benefit Sun Devils quarterback Brock Osweiler, who passed for over 3,600 yards with 24 touchdowns as a junior.
June Jones is either staying at SMU or still being considered by Arizona State, according to a pair of somewhat conflicting reports. Whether or not that his return to SMU would have been his preference, anyway was something less than clear, as reports had previously surfaced that Jones was not very popular among Sun Devils boosters.
If Jones is still being considered by the Sun Devils, it would seem to say more their ability to land a bigger name coach than about their love of the one-time Atlanta Falcons coach. Among the coaches they have reportedly considered are Jim Mora Jr., Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora, Baylor coach Art Briles and Houston coach Kevin Sumlin.
Any of those coaches woud probably be at least slightly preferable to Arizona State, but they are also getting interest from other, arguably more attractive, teams. Sumlin and Fedora, for instance, have already reportedly interviewed with Texas A&M.
If the Sun Devils do end up with Jones, it would hardly be the end of the world. In each of his past two stops, Jones took teams that were among the worst in all of college football and turned them into perfectly respectable teams. In Arizona State, he would have a far less daunting mountain to climb.
Just like that, another one's off the UCLA Bruins list: the Los Angeles Times reports Miami Hurricanes coach Al Golden has no interest in heading to Westwood. This should come as no surprise, seeing as Golden just signed a four-year contract extension.
Next up, according to the Times: former Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks coach Jim Mora, Jr. He had a 31-33 record as a NFL coach, and once joked to a radio show that he'd leave the Falcons midseason to take over his alma mater, the Washington Huskies. This man really likes the Pac-12.
He's expressed interest to ESPN radio in both the UCLA job and the Arizona St. Sun Devils gig, meaning he's utilized the air waves to put himself in contention for a quarter of the Pac-12 at one point or another.
The Arizona St. Sun Devils met with SMU Mustangs coach June Jones on Saturday, according to multiple reports, but Arizona outlets are reporting Jones isn't a popular pick among the school's boosters. According to Devils Digest, Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora, Baylor coach Art Briles, and Houston coach Kevin Sumlin will get looks as well.
So, the same list as every other school, pretty much. Seeing Briles' name is a nice touch.
Jones is an unconventional candidate, though it's surprising to hear of resistance. He's turned around Hawaii and SMU in his lengthy college coaching career. He's not guaranteed to win in the Pac-12, but there does seem to be some sort of stigma about his specific offensive system. Because the Pac-12 is so cautious about unconventional offenses, apparently.
SMU Mustangs coach June Jones interviewed for the Arizona St. Sun Devils job on Saturday, according to KTAR radio personality Paul Calvisi, as cited by the Arizona Republic's Doug Haller. The paper confirms earlier reports of ASU's interest in Jones.
SMU football was off Saturday, as it was Conference USA Championship day. The Mustangs are now awaiting their upcoming bowl bid.
Jones is 99-69 as a college coach, which includes turning the Hawaii Warriors into a Sugar Bowl team and taking SMU from 1-11 to three bowl trips in four years. He's also the coach who led the Atlanta Falcons to the playoffs that one year before having a sideline blowup with quarterback Jeff George. Surely you remember that.
His points-happy offense would provide an interesting complement to the rest of the Pac-12.
The Arizona St. Sun Devils have given up on Houston Cougars coach Kevin Sumlin, but apparently still have their hearts set on pass-happy coaches recently of east Texas. SMU Mustangs coach June Jones is next on ASU's list, according to a report from Sports By Brooks:
Jones piloted the Hawaii Warriors to a BCS bowl and SMU to its first bowl trips since the death penalty struck, so you'd have to wonder about what he could do with BCS-level resources.
His run 'n' shoot attack would fit right in with the new Pac-12, which has added scorers Mike Leach and Rich Rodriguez to offensive guru Chip Kelly, but it would actually mean an interesting change of pace. Though SMU ranks highly in passing yards, they rank only No. 93 in total offensive plays.
The sources told FOX 26 Arizona State has been in discussions with Sumlin's agent, Trace Armstrong.
"We've dropped from further consideration and moved on," said the Arizona State source who requested anonymity.
Sumlin led the Cougars to a 12-0 record this season and Houston, with a win in the Conference USA Championship game, is in position for its first BCS Bowl invitation. Houston is 35-23 in four seasons under Sumlin and his current team lead the nation in total offense (613.3 yards per game), scoring (52.7 points per game) and passing yards (449.7 per game).
Arizona State is said to be interested in Kirby Smart, Charlie Strong, Larry Fedora and Chris Pedersen moving forward.
The Texas A&M Aggies have begun the task of replacing head coach Mike Sherman, who was fired Thursday night. According to reports, the clear top candidates for the job are Houston Cougars coach Kevin Sumlin, who reportedly also has an Arizona St. Sun Devils offer, and Louisville Cardinals coach Charlie Strong.
The list, as has been reported, is pretty much everybody Ole Miss wants plus everybody Arizona State wants. See for yourself! First up, the Star-Telegram:
All signs point to the Aggies pursuing Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, a former A&M assistant, as Sherman's replacement. Sumlin has led the Cougars to a 12-0 record and a berth in Saturday's Conference USA championship game.
Other candidates include Louisville coach Charlie Strong, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and Boise State coach Chris Petersen.
@kbohls Top three Aggie targets early: Kevin Sumlin, Charlie Strong, Chris Petersen.
@schadjoe Kevin Sumlin, Kirby Smart, Charlie Strong, Larry Fedora in that order for A&M
@fbrumormill Add TCU's Gary Patterson and Louisville's Charlie Strong to your Texas A&M list
A&M is a better job than ASU is, plus Sumlin already knows the school and the area. If he's offered the chance to coach in the SEC, that's the move. Strong, for his part, has long wanted to become a SEC head coach.
Houston Cougars coach Kevin Sumlin hasn't been offered the vacant Arizona St. Sun Devils head coach job, according to the Houston Chronicle's Sam Khan Jr. That's one report from the Arizona side that he has, and one from the Houston side that he hasn't. Wheeeeeeee!
@skhanjr Per sources with knowledge of the situation, Kevin Sumlin has not been contacted nor been offered the Arizona State job at this time.
Interest on ASU's part in Sumlin has been reported since earlier in the week, so there could at least be something there. It would be surprising if the Sun Devils weren't interested, since Sumlin's just about the hottest coaching prospect still available.
Get ready for Sumlin to be asked whether he's been offered and to deny that he's been offered. The natural order of things is intact.
Is the Pac-12 loading up on big-name coaches or what? The latest report, by Doug Haller, has the Arizona St. Sun Devils offering Houston Cougars coach Kevin Sumlin their top job. It's not a surprise, as he'd been a reported target for a few days now.
@DougHaller Source: Arizona State has officially offered its football job to Houston coach Kevin Sumlin.
Don't expect Sumlin to drop any clues, no matter how creatively he's asked at the Conference USA Championship Game. UH and Sumlin are also working on a contract extension, so he's got that in his back pocket.
Excluding the perennial top tier of coaching desirables (JON GRUDEN AND CHRIS PETERSEN), Sumlin might be the biggest name left on the market. Not that he's on the market yet, technically. The 47-year-old from Alabama has piloted the Cougars to the verge of their first-ever BCS bowl appearance, amassing a 35-16 mark as a head coach.
For more on the Sun Devils, check out Arizona State blog House Of Sparky.
Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin is at the top of Arizona State's wish list to replace the recently fired Dennis Erickson, an unnamed official in Arizona State's athletic department tells Chris Karpman of ASUDevils.com.
Sumlin, whose Cougars are currently undefeated and leading the NCAA in numerous offensive categories, spent part of his weekly press conference Tuesday denying that he's had contact with any other school, adding that he's started talks for an extension with the school to keep him in Houston. But Karpman, citing "a source directly familiar with his thought process," reports that Sumlin has actually been in contact with Arizona State since Nov. 12, and that he's been in touch with UCLA.
In addition, Karpman says that Sumlin's attraction to Arizona State started two years ago:
Prior to the 2010 season, Sumlin and members of his offensive staff visited Arizona State in the offseason to interact with Sun Devil offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone -- Sumlin and Mazzone run similar one-back offenses -- and became enamored with the school and Phoenix area.
It's impossible to say right now who's telling the truth, but given Houston's success this season, Sumlin's name will continue being mentioned for vacant jobs up until the point Sumlin actually signs an extension.
For more on the Sun Devils, check out Arizona St. blog House Of Sparky.
Houston football coach Kevin Sumlin says he has had preliminary discussions with the school about a contract renegotiation and that he has not been contacted by any other schools yet.
Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson was formally fired by the university on Monday, confirming earlier rumors that the coach's departure was imminent. Erickson will reportedly be allowed to coach the Sun Devils in their upcoming bowl game.
Arizona State rose to as high as 18th in the AP Poll following a 5-1 start. The Sun Devils would go 1-5 the rest of the way, with four straight losses to close the season. Erickson took over at ASU in 2007, earning a piece of the Pac 10 championship in his first season. In four seasons since, his teams went 21-27, a disappointing result that ultimately sealed his fate. Despite a solid reputation among the coaching ranks, Erickson's teams were notorious for making persistent mental mistakes.
According to SB Nation's Bill Connelly, Houston coach Kevin Sumlin could be a potential candidate to take over the program, along with former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach. The Sun Devils are expected to lose a lot of talent off of a veteran-laden squad, but will return quarterback Brock Osweiler for the 2012 season.
For more on the Sun Devils, visit Arizona State blog House of Sparky.
Arizona State's Dennis Erickson is reportedly going to be fired in the next few days.
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