Arizona State has announced the addition of former Sun Devils quarterback Danny White to the staff as a consultant. White, who previously played football for the Dallas Cowboys, returns to the program to help out as an ambassador for the program he once played a key role in building. It also seems to be a thrill for head coach Todd Graham.
“As a lifelong Dallas Cowboy fan Danny White has always been one of my heroes,” Graham said in a released statement. “He is one of the finest persons I have ever met. What he brings to our program and what he can do to make a difference in our player’s lives is something I am looking forward to. He will be tremendous for us.”
White played quarterback for the Arizona State program from 1971 through 1973 and played a role in leading the team to a 32-4 record, three WAC championships and victories in the first three Fiesta Bowls in the bowl game’s existence. This all helped pave the way to receiving an invite to join the Pac-8, along with Arizona, to former the Pac-10. White will not have any direct coaching responsibilities with the program but will assist with prep work and handle other responsibilities to represent the program in front of potential donors.
In addition to the White announcement, Arizona State also announced the addition of former Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen. Christensen is taking on a non-coaching consultant role with the program, bringing with him 35 years of coaching experience as a head coach and assistant.
“Dave Christensen brings a lifetime of knowledge and experience in college football to our program,” Graham said. “He’s been a part of championships and that will be invaluable to our program.”
A failure to show a financial commitment to the coaching staff at Utah could prove to be a costly move by Utah athletics director Chris Hill, as one sportswriter suggests.
In the past offseason Utah opted not to extend contracts for members on the football team’s coaching staff as the coaches moved to the final year of their current contracts. According to Salt Lake Tribune writer Gordon Monsoon, that decision was not received well by some on the coaching staff. It allegedly could lead to assistant coaches weighing other options even if it is for a lateral move to another program. Only three assistant coaches on Kyle Whittingham’s staff have contracts beyond June 2015; Dave Christensen, Jim Harding and Taylor Stubblefield. All other coaches have contracts expiring at the end of this season.
It should be noted that Utah has extended coaching contracts earlier in the past, and this is in no way a suggestion that none of the coaches will receive extension offers. Not extending contracts also leaves the door open for any potential changes that may have been needed to help Utah continue to improve in the Pac-12 if things did not go well this season. They have though, so offering to extend contracts is likely.
Utah may have dropped its most recent games, but the Utes are having the best season in the Pac-12 since joining from the Mountain West Conference. Consistency on a coaching staff is incredible valuable for any program. Having a coaching staff locked in helps with recruiting and allows players to play under the same system from one year to the next.
Winning has a way of making everybody happy. If Utah continues to grow and win a few more games, odds are programs looking for candidates to fill some staff vacancies, perhaps with a promotion available, Utah could be a program worth reaching out to.