TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona State’s bold move is official.
The Sun Devils announced the hiring of former NFL coach and ESPN analyst Herm Edwards as football coach Sunday night, ushering in a new, unexpected era for the program.
A news conference to introduce Edwards is scheduled for Monday morning and his hiring is pending approval by the Arizona Board of Regents.
The school said in a release that Edwards will oversee a “New Leadership Model” that’s similar to the NFL approach using a general manager structure.
“Our goal for this football program is to reach unprecedented heights, and therefore we need to find a way to operate more innovatively and efficiently than we have in the past,” athletic director Ray Anderson said in a statement. “In the spirit of innovation, our vision for this program is to have a head coach who serves as a CEO and is the central leader with a collaborative staff around him that will elevate the performance of players and coaches on the field, in the classroom and in our community. Equally important, the head coach will be a dynamic and tireless recruiter.”
The Sun Devils fired coach Todd Graham after six seasons on Nov. 26 and wanted to move quickly with the early-signing period for high school recruits starting Dec. 20.
Arizona State did make a quick, albeit surprising move by hiring the 63-year-old Edwards, who hasn’t coached since 2008 after being fired by the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs.
Edwards spent the last nine years as an NFL analyst for ESPN and has not coached in college since serving as a San Jose State assistant in 1989. He’s also served as a coach for the Under Armour All-American game for the past eight years, working with some of the nation’s top high school recruit.
Anderson, a former NFL executive and agent who previously represented Edwards, has made some innovative moves since being hired as Arizona State’s AD in 2014. Bringing in Edwards to run the football program has created a stir nationally and within the Sun Devils’ fan base.
“My personal commitment to build young men to be whole people through the game of football is completely in alignment with the vision President Michael Crow and Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson have for this program,” Edwards said in a statement. “I stand ready for the challenge of working with them to elevate Sun Devil Football. I am very excited and humbled to be the Arizona State head football coach.”
The “New Leadership Model” will include sport and administrative divisions to manage the football program, the two sides sharing resources and planning to further the program.