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Opinion: Athletic Director Ray Anderson is building his legacy in all aspects

Ray Anderson builds his legacy by focusing on academics and smaller sports along with football and basketball


ASU athletic director Ray Anderson announces the University's addition of women's lacrosse on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015 at the Dutson Theater in the Carson Student-Athlete Center on the Tempe campus.

ASU athletic director Ray Anderson has begun to write his legacy in Sun Devil athletics, one that has a steep trajectory in a positive direction. 

Anderson received a three-year contract extension through Sep. 2022 in Apr. 2018, an investment that has more than paid off for the University. 

Some institutions measure the success of an athletic director on major sports success, specifically men’s basketball, women’s basketball and football. While the Sun Devils have taken major strides in those sports, the success of the nonmajor sports and academics are primary contributors to Anderson’s success.

In Anderson’s tenure, ASU has added men’s hockey and women’s lacrosse programs and brought men’s tennis back.

READ MORE: ASU women's lacrosse prepares for inaugural season

With the immediate and somewhat surprising success of the men’s hockey program, ASU plans to build a 5,000-seat hockey/multipurpose arena by fall 2021. The arena will also house wrestling and gymnastics. 

Key steps in major sports do matter as well. Anderson’s hiring of Herm Edwards and Bobby Hurley is icing on the cake to his success and should sweeten the tooth for a future contract extension. 

Anderson has also overseen the best period of Sun Devil athletics on the academic front. In the 2017-18 academic year, ASU athletics held a school high of 88 percent Graduation Success Rate, increasing the school’s streak, now 11 years, of maintaining or increasing GSR.

Associate Director for Student and Staff Development in the Office of Student Athlete Development Andrea Lore gives Anderson a lot of credit for the GSR success. 

“Academics is a pride point for our department,” Lore said. “(Anderson) has been at the forefront of our success, continuously mentioning that in a championship life, graduation is going to happen.”

Lore said the championship life model is something ASU athletics is using to enhance the overall readiness of its student-athletes post-graduation. The model focuses on life skills, career readiness and the unique needs in the prospective profession.

“(Anderson) has been behind us 100 percent,” Lore said. “He has invested in us. He emphasizes academics. He will build his legacy by continuing to be a thinker and a leader.”

Anderson is building his legacy in all sports by focusing on every program, not just the major sports. Anderson’s legacy is on the field, in the classroom and is creating a stronger sports community. Anderson is continuing to write his legacy in Sun Devil athletics. 

ASU athletics’ legacy is Ray Anderson’s legacy, and fortunately for both parties, it is surging in the right direction. 

Reach the columnist at or follow @anc2018 on Twitter.

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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