5 ASU coaching changes in winter break carousel

Mike Norvell brought two ASU football coaches to Memphis, ASU football hired two new coaches and promoted a third, and ASU volleyball lost its two top coaches.

This winter break has brought big changes to the ASU athletics department. ASU football coaching movement has created vacancies and two volleyball coaches have departed for different schools.

The move of former ASU football offensive coordinator Mike Norvell to Memphis created a whirlwind of coaching movement for ASU. On Jan. 4, Memphis announced that Norvell was bringing two ASU coaches with him.

To Memphis

After service as an ASU coach for four years, Chris Ball will perform duties as defensive coordinator at Memphis. At ASU, he was the safeties coach for all four years and co-defensive coordinator from 2013 to 2015. He has been a college football coach for 16 seasons.

Chip Long has served as a tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator for ASU since 2012, and he’ll go to Memphis to serve as offensive coordinator.

Some notable recruits he welcomed to ASU include freshman defensive back Kareem Orr, who led ASU with six interceptions in 2015, including one in the Cactus Bowl and a pick-six against Arizona; Jason Lewis, a four-star, 6-foot-4-inch, 246-pound running back who redshirted this season; and five-star linebacker Davon Durant, who did not play for ASU but is the only five-star ASU has recruited in Graham’s era.

As of now, it is unknown how his departure will affect the 2016 recruits.

New coaches on offense

ASU football made two coaching hires over break. On Dec. 11, Chip Lindsey was hired as ASU’s new offensive coordinator. He played a similar style of offense at the University of Southern Mississippi, and players have noted similar terminology between Lindsey’s vocabulary and ASU’s play.

He helped call plays during the Cactus Bowl, but after the game, head coach Todd Graham said redshirt quarterback Mike Bercovici did a lot of his own play calling.

To replace Long, ASU moved Josh Martin from his position as running back coach to tight ends coach.

Kodi Burns was hired as ASU’s new running back coach.

“Kodi is not only a talented coach, but an extremely gifted recruiter, and we’re fortunate to have him with us in Tempe,” Graham said in a statement to ASU athletics. “His background as a Division I football student-athlete that has won conference and national championships, and as a coach that has worked at different positions at various levels within college football gives him a unique perspective and ability to build relationships.”

Burns acted as the wide receivers coach at Middle Tennessee State University last season. He was a graduate assistant at Auburn University in 2014, when the Tigers got to the BCS Championship but lost to Florida State. In the 2014 season, he was a receivers coach at Samford University.

Volleyball changes

Football wasn’t the only sport with coaching changes over winter break. On Dec. 23, Sun Devil Athletics announced that the volleyball associate head coach Linda Hampton-Keith had been hired as head coach of North Carolina State University.

“Linda has proven to be a coach with a passion for teaching and treating our athletes with respect,” then-head coach Jason Watson said in a statement to ASU athletics. “She leaves our program in wonderful shape. I will always treasure the time we worked together here at Arizona State."

Watson’s time at ASU has also come to an end. On Jan. 7, the University of Arkansas athletic department announced it hired the volleyball coach who had led ASU to four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.

Watson said the Arkansas job gave him an opportunity to raise his family better, specifically in monetary terms.

He helped improve the team from a bottom-of-the-Pac-12 performer to a nationally recognized program that started the 2015 season 15-0.

“I look back on it favorably and I feel like we've been able to achieve a lot,” he said.


Reach the sports editor at logan.newman@asu.edu or follow @Logan_Newsman on Twitter.

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