UPDATED 3:33 p.m. ET: Arizona State has confirmed in a press release the hiring of Todd Graham as its 23rd head football coach. As expected, the school attempted to put the best spin on hiring a coach who informed his players via text message that he was leaving for another job.
“Criteria for our head coach was established, and the word that was at the forefront of discussions was `energy’…energy towards promoting our program in the community and with former players. Energy towards instilling discipline, leadership and in recruiting. Energy towards representing our brand in every facet of the program,” ASU athletic director Lisa Love said in a statement. “In Todd, we have not only hired a young and sitting head coach, but one with a history of success on the field and in hiring top-notch assistant coaches. For the first time in his career, he will be taking over a program with a strong nucleus at the beginning. We are excited to watch Coach Graham take over a very well-positioned program and elevate it to the next level.”
“What we sought in a football coach was someone who would be in it for the long term at Arizona State, who would build and guide a program that would be competitive in the Pac-12 and on a national level year after year after year, who would communicate and connect with the community, and represent our University with honor. In Todd Graham we have that person,” says ASU President Dr. Michael Crow.
Be in it for the long term? This will be Graham’s fourth head-coaching job at the Div. 1-A level in the past six years; at two of the previous three, he left after one year.
The coach may understand a lot of things, but commitment isn’t one of them. Or how to leave a program and his players with dignity and class, apparently.
So, yeah, congrats on this hire, Sun Devils.
Less than one year after taking over at Pittsburgh, Todd Graham is reportedly on his way out and heading out west.
According to multiple media outlets, Graham has decided to leave the Panthers to take the head-coaching job at Arizona State. Paul Zeis of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote on Twitter that “several players say Graham is headed to Arizona State“, while Yahoo! Sports‘ Pat Forde tweeted confirmation that Graham is leaving for the Sun Devils.
Neither school has confirmed the move, although Graham has indeed confirmed the move to his players — via email.
In what appears to be his lone season at Pitt, Graham went 6-6 overall and 4-3 in Big East play. Prior to that, he spent four seasons as Tulsa’s head coach and one season as the head coach at Rice.
Graham was at least Pitt’s second choice to replace Dave Wannstedt; Mike Haywood was initially named as Wannstedt’s successor until he was charged in a domestic incident, with Pitt then moving on to Graham.
It should again be noted that players are forced to sit out a year of competition after moving from one school to another, while head coaches are free to move on to another job and begin work immediately.
UPDATED 1:09 p.m. ET: As it turns out, Graham didn’t inform Pitt players via email of his decision to leave. Instead, he sent a statement to his director of football operations, who then texted it to the young men. Here’s the text of the, um, text.
“I have resigned my position at Pitt in the best interest of my family to pursue the head coaching position at Arizona State. Coaching there has always been a dream of ours and we have family there. The timing of the circumstances have prohibited from telling you this directly. I now am on my way to Tempe to continue those discussions. God Bless. Coach Graham.”
Stay classy, Coach Graham. Stay classy.