Head football coach Todd Graham fired, despite Territorial Cup victory

The Sun Devils went 7-5 this season and will play in a bowl game

Sun Devil football head coach Todd Graham was fired this morning, just a day after the team’s Territorial Cup win over the University of Arizona

The move was anticipated following several reports of an 8 a.m. meeting between Graham and Ray Anderson, ASU vice president for University athletics and athletics director. 

"When evaluating our head coaches, we have been very clear in our four-prong approach: integrity, academics, performance and fan affinity advancement," Anderson wrote in a statement

ASU finished the 2017 regular season 7-5 overall and 6-3 in conference play. The Sun Devils earned a bowl game, but unexpected wins over the University of Washington (No.5 at the time) and University of Oregon (No. 24 at the time) weren’t enough to keep Graham around. 

Graham’s tenure with the Sun Devils began in 2012 after previous head coaching positions at Rice University, University of Tulsa and the University of Pittsburgh. He leaves Tempe with a final record of 46-31. 

Graham joined Frank Kush and Darryl Rodgers as the only coaches in ASU history to win 30-plus games in their first four seasons. 

Early on in his tenure, Graham and the Sun Devils were a force to be reckoned with, putting together consecutive 10-win seasons in 2013 and 2014, along with a 2013 Pac-12 South championship. Graham also won Pac-12 Coach of the Year that season.

However, the last few years of Graham’s time at the helm has left more to be desired. The Sun Devils went 6-7 in 2015 and 5-7 in 2016, and had the nation’s worst pass defense in both of those seasons. 

The 2016 season was an especially hard blow to Graham’s resume as the team started 5-0 before dropping its final seven.

Graham was worried about his continued status with the program heading into Saturday’s Territorial Cup, according to a report from USA Today’s Dan Wolken. 

The article also states that Anderson and his staff have potential candidates already in mind. Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin is reportedly a “high priority” if he were to be let go by the Aggies, according to the report.

Other potential picks include Michigan’s passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton, Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason, all according to USA Today.

Despite the announcement today regarding Graham, ASU football still has a bowl game upcoming. 

During his time with the Sun Devils, Graham helped ASU win two bowl games. In the 2012 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, the Sun Devils too a 62-28 victory over Navy, and took a win over Duke 36-31 in the 2014 Sun Bowl.

Graham will receive a more than $12 million as a buyout because he was fired before the end of his contract. However, Anderson said in a statement that "Graham and his staff will remain with the program through their bowl appearance." 

Editor's note: This story will be updated as more information becomes available.


Reach the reporters at atotri@asu.edu, mpharri7@asu.edu, jpjacqu1@asu.edu or follow @Anthony_Totri, @Harris_Mark7, @joejacquezaz on Twitter.   

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