ASU officially announces Herm Edwards as new head football coach

Doug Haller
The Republic |
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Herm Edwards in January 2017.

Former NFL head coach Herm Edwards is about to bring his football enthusiasm to the desert.

Arizona State on Sunday night officially announced Edwards as its new head football coach, the centerpiece of a restructured program model that the Sun Devils hope lifts them to greater heights. The Arizona Board of Regents still has to approve the hire.

Edwards will be introduced at a 10:30 a.m. Monday news conference. He replaces Todd Graham, fired Nov. 26 after six seasons. Graham will coach ASU the rest of the month as the Sun Devils prepare for the Dec. 29 Sun Bowl against North Carolina State.

Edwards, 63, becomes the first African American head football coach in school history. He will lead the "New Leadership Model," which will take an 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," Vice President of Athletics 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."

Since 2009, Edwards has worked at ESPN as an NFL analyst, meaning he has not coached in a decade. He hasn't coached in college in nearly three.

Even so, Edwards has a rich football background and a personality that demands attention.

As a player, Edwards spent eight years in the NFL, nearly all with the Philadelphia Eagles. He is best remembered for the 1978 “Miracle in the Meadowlands,” a play in which he scooped a fumble in the final seconds and returned it for a touchdown to stun the New York Giants.

As a coach, Edwards worked under Marty Schottenheimer with the Kansas City Chiefs and under Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay. In 2001, he was named head coach of the New York Jets, where he went 39-41 over five seasons, making the playoffs three times.

In 2006, Edwards, a defensive-minded coach, took over the Kansas City Chiefs but he wasn't there long.  After taking the Chiefs to the playoffs his first season, he went 6-26 over the next two – the worst-two year stretch in team history – and was fired.

"Passion for my faith, my family and my occupation as a football coach are the things that have driven me back to the grass," Edwards said 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."

Anderson likely will expect Edwards to win right away. Upon dismissing Graham, he laid out lofty program standards: Top three in the Pac-12 and Top 15 nationally. For continuity, several assistant coaches are expected to stay and join Edwards' staff.

The football program's administrative division will be primarily composed of Anderson, Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director Jean Boyd and Senior Associate Athletics Director Scottie Graham.

Anderson has history with Edwards. During his days as an agent, he represented Edwards during the coach's NFL days. 

"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."

RELATED:What will Herm Edwards bring as coach of ASU football?

MORE:ASU players react to Graham's firing, Edwards' potential hiring

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Contact Doug Haller at 602-444-4949 or at Follow him at


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