ASU football coach Todd Graham agrees to contract extension

 

ASU head coach Todd Graham watches over the football team from the sidelines. (Photo by Aaron Lavinsky)

ASU head coach Todd Graham watches over the football team from the sidelines. (Photo by Aaron Lavinsky)

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that coach Todd Graham was the highest-paid coach in the Pac-12 based on an outdated survey that didn’t take into account multiple coaching changes during recent months. That information has been removed and the story will be updated with more accurate information when it’s available.

ASU football coach Todd Graham agreed to a contract extension Wednesday that would expire on June 30, 2019, according to an initial report from The Arizona Republic‘s Doug Haller.

Last season, Graham posted ASU’s first 10-win season since 2007, leading the Sun Devils to the Pac-12 Championship, and clinched the Pac-12 South outright after defeating UCLA at the Rose Bowl on Nov. 23. A thrashing of rival UA the following week guaranteed that ASU would host the Pac-12 Championship Game against Stanford, winner of the north division and eventual conference champion.

Graham has compiled an 18-9 record through two seasons at ASU and was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2013. The upcoming 2014 season is the third of nine potential seasons that the veteran head coach could be at the helm, almost twice as long as Graham’s longest head coaching stint  four years —  at Tulsa from 2007-10.

The  Mesquite, Texas, native’s controversial history of “program-hopping” after a sudden departure of Pittsburgh raised questions of Graham’s intentions. Doubt was cast over Graham upon his arrival in Tempe after then athletic director Lisa Love appointed him to fill the vacancy left by the ousted Dennis Erickson.

Graham made stops at three different schools prior to his leadership of the Sun Devil program, landing his first head coaching position at Rice. He was previously rumored to be Mack Brown’s successor at Texas, where former athletic director Steve Patterson fled in November.

However, it appears that Graham has gained a vote of confidence from new athletic director Ray Anderson, who has been busy asserting himself and building his young administration, hiring Zeke Jones to lead the ASU wrestling team and René Lyst to coach gymnastics.

The recent extension — the second following Graham’s original five-year deal, with the first coming back in September — would ink Graham for an additional $300,000, totaling $2.7 million per year in base salary. Graham is projected to be the fifth-highest paid coach in the Pac-12, behind UCLA’s Jim Mora, ($3.5 million) and Washington’s Chris Petersen, the highest-paid at $3.6 million. Stanford and USC are private institutions and thus are not required to publish coaches’ salaries, though David Shaw (Stanford) is rumored to be near the top of the list, and incoming USC coach Steve Sarkisian will likely earn a figure in the ballpark of his predecessor Lane Kiffin, who made $2.59 million.

A new stipulation of the extension will contain performance and academic incentives, including potential raises for a cumulative team GPA of 3.0 or a team graduation rate of 95 percent, an AP report said.

The Arizona Board of Regents will convene June 5-6 and must approve the athletic department’s offer before it is official.

 

Reach the assistant sports editor at smodrich@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @modrich_22