Tempe, AZ – The college football coaching carousel is hitting full stride this month. As some coaches are fired, others are courted by programs looking to improve their image and success.
Let’s take a look at how all the moves affect ASU and the Pac-12 conference.
Steve Sarkisian Hired by USC
In SC’s coaching search that included Kevin Sumlin, Chris Peterson, Jack Del Rio and interim coach Ed Orgeron, USC Athletic Director Pat Haden ultimately chose Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian.
Sarkisian has a history with the Trojans. He played baseball, later served as a graduate assistant and was an offensive coordinator under Pete Carroll. During his time with the Huskies, Sarkisian came into a program that had finished 0-12 before he arrived. And while he brought them back to life, “Sark” never took the program past average, accumulating a 34-29 record over five years.
It’s worth noting that after SC’s courting of Sumlin, he received a 6 year contract extension from Texas A&M.
The question is whether or not Washington Defensive Coordinator Justin Wilcox will stay put, or move to USC with Sarkisian.
Chris Petersen Hired by Washington
In the whirlwind of coaching changes, Washington hit a home run. Petersen finally made a move after rumors swirled each year about his departure from Boise State. Petersen gets to stay in the Pacific Northwest with his family, but moves to a more prestigious conference and a university with new facilities and solid financial support. Keep an eye on the Huskies.
Before the Petersen hire, UCLA Coach Jim Mora, who played for the Huskies in college, was mentioned for the Washington position. The Bruins quickly erased that idea by extending Mora’s contract at UCLA until 2019.
The next question is whether or not Washington Defensive Coordinator Justin Wilcox will stay put, or move to USC with Sarkisian.
Mack Brown to Step Down at Texas
It was announced on Orangebloods.com that Mack Brown will step down as head coach at Texas. This was inevitable, but just when this would happen was another story. The high powered boosters at Texas want Nick Saban at Alabama, and although he has denied interest in the job, sources say Saban is still very much the frontrunner. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, who is taking his team to the National Championship, has also been mentioned.
How All These Moves Affect ASU
For Sun Devil fans, the development at Texas should ease some tension. When former ASU AD Steve Patterson left for Texas, it was easy to connect the dots and see a potential fit for Graham and the Longhorns. UT is a beacon of football in the Lone-Star state, and it’s hard to deny their attraction of great coaches, especially those with a history in the state like Graham. Graham’s Offensive Coordinator Mike Norvell is the one to keep an eye on.
Graham’s Offensive Coordinator Mike Norvell is the one to keep an eye on.
The sooner Texas made a change, the less likely it was for Graham to be in the conversation. Had this happened next year or the year following and if the Texas native sustains his success at ASU, Graham would likely get a stronger look from the Longhorns.
Graham, the 2013 Pac-12 Coach of the Year, is not only rebuilding the ASU football program, but he is rebuilding his reputation after his departure from Pitt. He has much more to accomplish at ASU, and he is passionately engaged in what he is doing. He and his family have invested much in their new life in the Valley of the Sun.
Graham’s Offensive Coordinator Mike Norvell is the one to keep an eye on. He is becoming a hot name in the coaching ranks because of his high scoring offensive schemes at ASU.
Norvell has been with Graham since the beginning of his coaching career. He likely wouldn’t leave for a higher paying OC position, but if the right head coaching opportunity presents itself, that could change things.
For now, although the coaching carousel is still spinning, ASU should keep all it’s parts in place heading into 2014.