Graham, players sit down with students on multi-campus tour

Fresh from being named ASU’s new football coach, Todd Graham wants to gather as much support as he can while the Sun Devils prepare for the 2012 season.

Graham and a few members of the football program ate lunch and interacted with dozens of students at the Downtown campus Tuesday as part of a three-campus tour, which includes the West and Polytechnic campuses.

“My whole deal being out today was to say, ‘Hey, I respect you guys. I’m proud to be your coach, and I want to compete for your support,’” Graham said. “I’m not just going to sit in my office and say, ‘You should show up to the games.’ I want to go out and know people. We’re all about relationships. I want the fans. I want the students. I want the faculty and staff to know who their coach is, and I want to do something special.”

Joining Graham on the tour was redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Eubank, junior safety Alden Darby and junior cornerback Osahon Irabor. Senior associate athletic director of football Tim Cassidy accompanied them as well.

Graham and his entourage were provided with food at the Taylor Place Dining Hall and sat at several tables. After eating with students, each representative addressed the floor and thanked the students and staff for their support. The coaches and players concluded the visit by signing autographs and taking pictures with the fans.

“I like it, and this is what I feel we need,” Darby said. “This is something new. This is different. We’ve never done this in any year I’ve been here. Reaching out to the fans and making the fans feel as important as we are is key. Without them, we’re nothing.”

Exercise and wellness freshman Mogos Gabre and criminal justice and criminology freshman Nicholas Ackiss ate with Graham and talked about a variety of topics, including Graham’s coaching philosophy, his family and the Phoenix Open. Gabre did not know much about Graham, but learned a lot about him and feels confident about the upcoming season.

“He’s a pretty humble guy,” Gabre said. “He has high expectations for ASU. I believe he will get it done. He seemed very determined from everything he said. I feel like they seem to be the team (to be) reckoned with this season.”

 

Reach the reporter at jnacion@asu.edu