Todd Graham Speaks as New Head Coach of ASU Football – Official Transcript
Mike Howell
By ,
April 20, 2012 1:41 PM

ARIZONA STATE Press Conference

Tempe, AZ  December 14, 2011, 5:30 PM






I’m going to try real
hard, I’m pretty passionate, and probably my
greatest attribute is my passion and my
enthusiasm, and I don’t do a lot of sitting down, so
I’m going to get on the edge of my seat here and
just tell you how grateful I am to be here today,
and I hope I don’t knock anything off this table.
First of all, I can’t tell you how exciting it is to be a
part of a dynamic leadership, meeting President
Crow meeting Lisa and Steve. I want to be a part
of a team that is innovative, unique, progressive
and exciting and relationship oriented. And I’ve
found all those things here, and I’m so excited to
be here.


It’s such an honor for me to be sitting here
and taking over the program that the legend Frank
Kush built. I can’t tell you how humbling that is for
me. I’m a traditionalist, have a tremendous respect
for this game. I have a tremendous respect for the
past and for what he did as a coach here is just
absolutely phenomenal. I’m hoping that I can
accomplish half of what he’s done and we’ll be
doing great. …..


It also would be remiss for me not to talk
about Coach Erickson and the 2011 Sun Devils. I
have a tremendous respect, actually have watched
the film early in the season and seen some of the
great wins early and the promise that this team has
and the job that he’s done here. He’s going to be a
Hall of Fame coach, and I just want to honor him
and give him respect and tell him what an honor
and a privilege it is for me to follow him as the
head football coach.



This is a dream come true for me. Talking
about Frank Kush, as a young coach, I think I was
around 29 years old, I walked the halls here. I got
a chance to be introduced to Coach Kush in his
office, and I looked out and I marveled over Sun
Devil Stadium and Frank Kush Field. I actually
walked down the hallways and just amazed by the
graphics and how it was done. It was just
absolutely a dream place.


My wife and I have vacationed here yearly,
have some of our best friends here, Mike and Pat
Case, and gone to Desert Mountain every year.
Actually this summer we’re planning to — this is
where we wanted to end up. We wanted to —
when we would retire, this is where we wanted to
be. It’s awful ironic that we had that opportunity.
No retiring (laughing). It’s win or get retired. So
no retiring. But this is a dream come true for us as
far as a destination, a recruit, wow, to recruit to
Phoenix, to recruit to Tempe, to Arizona State
University, that’s exciting for me.


But being a young coach, actually
everywhere I’ve been, I’ve actually taken the
graphics off the wall that I actually took from here
that are in buildings like Tulsa around the country.
But this was an opportunity, too, from a competitive
standpoint. I’m extremely competitive, extremely
passionate, and this was the only opportunity that I
can tell you that my family would endure what we
just did and go through was Arizona State


I’m excited. I’m excited where this
program is. I’m excited about the future. You
know, I got an opportunity to meet Brock today,
and I’m excited in what he can do and this offense.
I got to meet some of the other players, as well. I
can’t wait to start building relationships with those
guys, can’t wait to start creating memories and
winning championships and restore this program to
the ’87 Rose Bowl champions over Michigan.
Actually when I flew in, when I landed, the first
phone call that I got was from John Cooper, and
John was sharing with me and rattling off names,
and he’s been somewhat of a mentor to me, and
he said, they’ve done it before there, Coach, and
you need to do it again, and that’s what we intend
on doing.


I want to reach out to our former players. I
played this game, I love this game. I wish I could
still play it. They cut me, so I have to coach it.
But I hold it sacred that you put that helmet
on your head. I wouldn’t have a job, I wouldn’t
have an opportunity if not for the people that have
come before me, past coaches and the players. I
know what it is to play four years. I started 47
consecutive games in college, and the price you
pay to play this great game, and though I’m slow
getting out of that bed in the morning, I can tell you
that I’d do it all over again for twice the admittance,
I can tell you that. But I want to reach out to our
former players. I need you on the sideline. I need
you in the locker room. I intend on communicating
with you. One of the things I do is I send out
communications once a month. I want to carry on
the great traditions, and I want to know them, and
the only way I can do that is communicate and
build a relationship with you, and I want to restore
this program, and this program will be about
winning championships, and we’ll do it in a way
that will honor and respect you.


How will we play defense? How about
let’s play it like Pat Tillman and Terrell Suggs
played it. That’s how we’re going to do it.
How are we going to play offense? How
about we spin that ball like Jake Plummer and
Danny White? I grew up in Dallas watching Danny
White play. And how about we be as tough as
Randall McDaniel? That’s it. That’s all we want to
do. And I want them to know that it is an honor
and a privilege for me. I want them to know that I
know the price that they’ve paid, and I am going to
be calling upon them. I need their help and I need
their support, and I will work hard to earn your trust
and your respect.


To the recruits: I think hopefully by
tomorrow I’m going to be able to call them. I can’t
wait to talk to you. I can’t wait to share with you
our high octane football and our style. I can’t wait
to start talking to you about character and
discipline that we run our program with, and I can’t
wait to talk to you ASAP, so sit tight, I will be
calling as soon as I possibly can.


We want the best and the brightest, starts
right here in Arizona, and I want to speak to the
high school coaches. I spent half my coaching
career being a teacher and a coach. I started off
over 25 years ago coaching and teaching seventh
grade. I consider myself a teacher, and I want the
coaches to know that I’ll take care of their young
people, and we’ll treat them with great respect, and
we will help and develop them as young men of
character. My goal for our players is to be
championship citizens, to be championship fathers,
to understand about perseverance and to be
championship husbands that understand about


That’s what our program is all about, and
the Sun Devil way is what you’ll hear me talking
about a lot, and that speaks to our goals as a
program. Our goals as a program is that we are
going to first and foremost bring out the best in
every single person’s character that’s involved in
our program. I believe that that is the key
component to winning and winning every day. I’m
not interested in winning on Saturday and losing
on other days. I want to win every day in every
way. We will compete in the classroom as we
compete on the field. Can you imagine a football
team that did that?


On the field we’re going to be passionate
and disciplined. Discipline is the key to winning
football games. It’s very simple: You’ve get 11
guys to do what they’re coached to do right the first
time you ask them to do it. Our program is going
to be about discipline. We’re going to be involved
in the community. The greatest joy that I’ve had in
my life is to learn to be a giver. I grew up in a
family that I had a mom, my dad left, and she
raised five kids with a ninth-grade education, and
we were blessed. She never let us become
victims. We were victors, not victims. I want our
players to understand that family and character
and bringing out the best and being a giver, that’s
what I call unique character, is giving every day.
But I’ve been able to now take care of that
mom. It’s been the greatest joy in my life, and now
I realize when she was giving to me and I was
receiving, she was receiving far more than she was
giving me, and that’s something that we’ll teach our
players, and that’s what I’m looking for. I’m looking
for guys that have great character, that have a
passion for this game. There’s only one way that
we’re going to play it, and that’s with great passion.
We’re going to play this game the way it’s
meant to be played, and that’s the old fashioned
way, in a very physical nature.


I want to shout out to our fans, all the Sun
Devil faithful out there. I need your support. I
need you to what I call speaking victory, start
speaking victory every day. I don’t shy away from
high expectations. I know exactly what I’m
inheriting and the opportunity that’s here, but I
need your support. I’m going to work hard to earn
your respect and your trust, as well, and we will
work hard to put a product on that field that you
can be proud of, and I guarantee you that we’ll
every play until the end of the whistle.


To the community: I can’t wait to get out
there. One handshake at a time is what we talk
about, and meet you. I think perception is reality,
and we start the perception today that we’re going
to build a championship program. We’re going to
win Pac-12 championships, we are going to win
Rose Bowl championships and ultimately the
National Championship. I’m going to have — our
kids are going to be the hardest working, best
prepared, most disciplined team in the country. I’m
going to ask more from them than anyplace in the
country from a work ethic standpoint. I’m not going
to do that and have anything less than winning
every day and every game as our goal.


What’s it going to look like? What’s our
offense going to look like? What’s our defense
going to look like? Well, obviously our offense is
going to be high octane, it’s going to be quick
striking, explosive. Our whole deal is about
explosive plays. I like to see a ball thrown down
the field. People want to come and they want to
watch games and I don’t want you sitting in your
seat. I want you standing up, and how you do that
is you have explosive plays, that’s offense,
defense. How do we do it? We attack, put it in the
left lane, hammer down, and we don’t let up.
That’s what our program is going to be about.
I’m so honored and thrilled to be your
coach. I want to thank you for the opportunity. I
am every single person out there that’s a Sun
Devil. I’m your coach, and I’m so proud to be here,
and starting right now, I’m a Sun Devil. God bless



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