ASU should have hired Charlie Strong to replace Todd Graham

Ray Anderson mistakenly hired Herm Edwards over Charlie Strong

Ray Anderson, ASU's vice president for University athletics, decided Sunday, Nov. 26 that ASU football head coach Todd Graham will not be returning to Tempe for the 2018 season. 

"Bouncing back to 7-5 is not where Arizona State expects to be. (ASU) is one of the sleeping giants in college football for a reason," Tyler Duffy, a freelance sportswriter, said.

Although he may be currently employed as head coach at the University of South Florida, Charlie Strong seemed as if he would be the best possible fit for the ASU job. With that said, Anderson has instead decided to hire ESPN analyst and former Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets head coach Herm Edwards. 

ESPN sports writer, analyst and NFL insider Adam Schefter said on Tuesday evening over Twitter that Edwards was lined up to be interviewed for the vacant ASU job.

Soon after Schefter's tweet, Edwards reportedly had approval from Anderson and was pending approval from ASU President Michael Crow to be hired as the next head coach.

Edwards was officially confirmed as head coach for the Sun Devils on Dec. 3.

The Edwards hire for the Sun Devils is an extremely dangerous and high-profile hire. The former NFL coach has not led a team since the 2008-09 NFL season. On top of that, Edwards has not coached on the college level since 1989 when he was an offensive assistant at San Jose State University.

During his time in the NFL, Edwards had rather limited success. He had a 54-74 regular season record in eight seasons and a 2-4 record in the playoffs. Edwards is also 63 years old, so the former NFL head coach is certainly no spring chicken.

Though it is a very splashy hire, it is safe to say that hiring Edwards, who has not been around the game since 2008, is an unnecessary risk

Anderson should have hired Strong. 

ASU’s biggest issue in 2017 was the defense, as the Sun Devils surrendered 31.3 points per game while playing in a weak Pac-12 South. Strong would have been the perfect fit for fixing that problem.

As the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida from 2003-09, Strong won two National Championships, and the Gators defense allowed less than 13 points per game in his final two seasons.

As a head coach, Strong was able to impress. During his time at the University of Louisville, he went 11-2 and 12-1 in his final two seasons. Now at the University of South Florida, Strong has led the Bulls to a strong 9-2 record after three rocky seasons while in charge at the University of Texas.

Although Strong may have had a rough time in Austin, the problems in Texas may be larger than Strong himself, as the Longhorns only went 6-6 this season under new head coach Tom Herman.

"(ASU football) has a lot going for it with weather and proximity to Los Angeles," Duffy said. "All sorts of things for the right coach to come in there and really do something."

With the strong credentials of Strong and the various flaws of Edwards, Anderson definitely should have tried to pry Strong away from South Florida instead of pursuing Edwards.


Reach the columnist at kbriley@asu.edu and on twitter @Kokiriley.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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