If nothing else, this should prove to be fascinating theatre.
Word broke Saturday evening that, after a few days worth of speculation, Herm Edwards was set to be named as the new head football coach at Arizona State. Sunday night, that stunning development officially came to fruition as the Sun Devils “unveiled plans for a restructured ASU football model” by naming Edwards as the program’s 24th coach.
According to the school, the hiring is pending the approval of the Arizona Board of Regents.
“Passion for my faith, my family and my occupation as a football coach are the things that have driven me back to the grass,” said Edwards in a statement. “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. 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 63-year-old Edwards’ last coaching job at any level came as the head coach of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs in 2008; his last (and only) college job was as the defensive backs coach at San Jose State from 1987-89. Since 2009, he’s been an NFL analyst for ESPN.
For perspective, the last time Edwards was a coach at the collegiate level, Urban Meyer was the quarterbacks/wide receivers coach at Illinois State and Nick Saban was the defensive backs coach of the Houston Oilers; Lincoln Riley, one of the four 2017 playoff head coaches, was a first-grader; Bo Schembechler was in his last season as the head coach at Michigan; and there were a total of 18 bowl games (there are now 174).
The school noted in its release that Edwards “has most recently served as a coach for the past eight years at the Under Armour All-American game, which features the top high school football recruits in the country,” so there’s that, which is nice.
ASU’s current athletic director, Ray Anderson, served as Edwards’ agent during a coaching career that seemingly ended nearly a decade ago.
“During my years with and around the NFL, there is not a more respected man that has the passion for the game of football like that of Herm Edwards,” Anderson said. “I have no doubt his ability to lead, inspire and develop young men will translate into his staff and into recruiting, and I’m confident he is the visionary and leader we need to command this new ASU football model.”
As for that new football model? From the school’s release:
The department’s New Leadership Model will be similar to an NFL approach using a general manager structure. It’s a collaborative approach to managing the ASU football program that includes sport and administrative divisions, which will operate as distinct, but collective units focused on elevating all aspects of Sun Devil Football. This structure will allow the department to form a multi-layered method to the talent evaluation and recruiting processes, increase its emphasis on both student-athlete and coach development and retention, and provide a boost in resource allocation and generation.
“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,” Anderson said. “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.