ASU athletic director Ray Anderson unveils NFL-style structure for football

New head coach Herm Edwards will serve as the conductor for this unique model

ASU football officially introduced Herm Edwards as the program's 24th head coach on Monday, but that is not the only change that will come to the team next season. 

Unhappy with the Sun Devils' current structure, Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson presented what has been dubbed as the New Leadership Model, a never-before-seen way of running a college football program.

“The traditional model for athletics, under which we have operated for the last few years, has produced very frankly unsatisfying and, for the most part, mediocre results,” Anderson said at a press conference on Monday. “We are going to pivot to a different model that you would see in the NFL and frankly other professional sports."

According to the press release, this new format will divide up duties between administrative and sports divisions, an approach Anderson said he believes is needed to meet his lofty on-field expectations.

Anderson, Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director Jean Boyd and Senior Associate Athletics Director Scottie Graham will lead the administrative team, and Senior Associate Athletic Director Tim Cassidy will head "day-to-day operations," according to the release. 

In addition, Cassidy and staff members will collaborate to manage other aspects of the program, including recruiting, player development and player personnel.

"ASU football is nobody's rebuild," Anderson said. "This is not a start up. This is not a start over. We need to take the next step in competitive consistency and I believe Herm Edwards can take us there."

Anderson said he believes a new direction is needed to achieve his goal of competitive consistency in recruiting four- and five-star prospects and against opponents on the field, two areas he said lacked under the leadership of recently fired head coach Todd Graham

“The football head coach is going to get a lot of support from other folks outside of the traditional model," Anderson said. "You will see much more of the participation of (the athletic department). It is going to be an all in, all hands on board. It is going to be an all-hands-on-deck effort to upgrade football the way we’ve upgraded in some of our other sports. It will be a collaboration. Our head football coach will not be needed to and will not be expected to control it all and do it all.” 

Anderson said Edwards was scheduled to meet with the current group of assistant coaches at some point on Monday.

If offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Billy Napier and defensive coordinator Phil Bennett both stay in Tempe, ASU's new method will allow them and other assistant coaches "more flexibility in how they develop student-athletes on the field," per the release.

Edwards embraced Anderson and ASU President Michael Crow's approach and indicated that he is ready to delegate. 

"I will delegate responsibilities to coordinators and assistant coaches," Edwards said. "Then, I will hold them accountable for how those players play. You don't just coach the players – you coach the coaches." 

Crow approved the hiring of Edwards over the weekend and on Monday, expressed the same dissatisfaction with constant coaching and philosophy turnover in college football.

“We are changing into a differentiated model,” Crow said. “We are not happy with the way this model is working at other schools. We are not happy with the way this model has worked over many coach changes in our case at ASU.”

 Reach the reporter at or follow @joejacquezaz on Twitter.

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