Opinion: Sun Devil Athletics stacks up with any athletic department in the US

The recent Power 5 success in all sports shows success at all levels

On Tuesday, ASU athletic director Ray Anderson announced that Sun Devil football and the University of Florida have agreed to a home/home series that begins in nine years. This is a perfect time to announce this news as ASU athletics are on the rise that puts them on the level with any athletic department in a national scope.

ASU success against other Power 5 conference foes has been great. Men’s basketball’s sweep of blue blood Kansas, football’s sweep of recent College Football Playoff participant Michigan State, ASU wrestler Zahid Valencia winning a national championship as a sophomore and women’s basketball reaching the Sweet 16 in 2019 have flexed the arm of ASU athletic prowess. 

"I think ASU does as good a job as anyone else in the country at being competitive in all sports," Peyton Gallaher, a sophomore studying sports journalism, said. 

That ability to be competitive has even stretched to men's hockey. The team, currently in its fourth full season as part of Division I, unexpectedly reached the NCAA tournament as an at-large bid. In the national spotlight, very few thought hockey success in the desert would come that quickly. 

The announcement of the Florida series only adds to the list of ASU setting itself to go head to head with some of the most storied programs in college football history. The Sun Devils also have series planned against Louisiana State University, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State and Brigham Young University in the next 15 years.

"In cash-cow sports, like football and basketball, ASU is on the right track," Gallaher said. "This place should recruit itself."

If ASU men's basketball makes another tournament appearance in 2020, it will be Bobby Hurley’s third at the helm of the Sun Devils, putting him in second all-time in NCAA tournament appearances by a Sun Devil head coach. Hurley, who is in his fifth season at ASU, is six appearances behind Ned Wulk, ASU head coach from 1957-82. 

Hurley is leading the Sun Devils into the greatest era of ASU men's basketball, a place that Charli Turner Thorne has already done with the women's program. 

Men's and women's golf have been consistently competing for national championships. Triathlon has consistently won national championships in its short existence, and the women's lacrosse program is coming off the ground since its inaugural season in 2018.

With ASU in its golden era of men's basketball and women's basketball, a rising football program, a successful start to a hockey program, elite programs in men's and women's golf and triathlon and a brand new women's lacrosse program, ASU athletics has set itself up to be a national power for years to come.

It is time to recognize ASU as one of the best athletic departments in the country. 


Reach the columnist at ancoil@asu.edu 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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