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ASU football begins coaching carousel as NCAA investigation continues

Four coaches have officially departed from Herm Edwards' staff with more change to come in the coming days

Asu football coaches

From left to right, ASU football Defensive Analyst Michael Fletcher, Running Backs Coach Shaun Aguano, Head Coach Herm Edwards and then-Offensive Coordinator Zak Hill coach from the sideline during a game against Washington State on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021.

ASU football has announced the promotion of Bobby Wade and Juston Wood to full-time positions on the team’s coaching staff amid the ongoing NCAA review into the program's recruiting practices. Wade will become the wide receivers coach while Wood will be the tight ends coach.

The announcement comes after a flurry of coaching changes were made within the past two weeks. Former Super Bowl-winning head coach for the Baltimore Ravens Brian Billick has joined head coach Herm Edwards’ staff as an offensive analyst/advisor to the head coach. Multiple outlets reported that four coaches have been released or have resigned since the start of the NCAA review.

Offensive coordinator Zak Hill resigned Thursday, according to reports from multiple outlets. He was hired in 2019 and was also responsible for working with the quarterbacks.

Edwards will be looking for his third offensive coordinator in just five seasons, and several outlets have reported that Billick is not expected to step into the offensive coordinator role.

Tight ends coach Adam Breneman resigned from his position Monday after being one of three coaches placed on paid administrative leave in August. Breneman was a two-time All-American tight end at the University of Massachusetts, and had only been with the Sun Devil coaching staff since 2020.

Wood, who stepped into the role left by Breneman for the 2021-22 season, has been coaching at the college level since 2009 and played for three seasons in the Arena Football League. 

“I am extremely thankful to Herm Edwards, Ray Anderson, and Jean Boyd for having the trust and confidence in me to promote me to this position and give me an opportunity to develop tight ends at ASU. It is truly a huge privilege to get to coach in the Pac-12 and at a program like ASU,” Wood said in a press release.

Two other assistants who were placed on administrative leave, defensive backs coach Chris Hawkins and wide receivers coach and assistant recruiting coordinator Prentice Gill, were fired on Jan. 21 for what is reported as being violations of their work agreements with the University.

Gill was part of Edwards’ staff since late 2019 and has coached wide receivers since 2012. Having coached for schools like the University of Southern California and the University of Oregon, Gill had made a name for himself as a coach and as a recruiter. 

According to 247Sports, he is appealing his termination.

Newly promoted wide receiver coach Wade has been with the Sun Devils since early 2019 and has filled in for Gill since August.

“Football has always been a true passion of mine and I can’t wait to help these young men engineer their lives over the next 3-5 years. I want to give them the opportunity that I had which was to play in the NFL,” Wade said in a press release.

Former secondary coach Hawkins joined Edwards’ staff in late 2019, having also coached at USC during the 2019 season.

Edwards has already announced the new defensive backs coach, former Missouri defensive backs coach Aaron Fletcher. Fletcher has coached for 16 years at both the collegiate and high school levels and helped the University of Tulsa secure three bowl game appearances during his tenure there.

"I cannot thank Coach Edwards and Ray Anderson enough for allowing my family and I an opportunity to be a part of the prestigious Sun Devil Football program in the great community of Tempe," Fletcher said in a press statement.

The NCAA review is still ongoing and The Athletic's Doug Haller reports that the 2021 staff has yet to be interviewed, meaning that these coaching changes are likely far from over.

Vice President for University Athletics Anderson has told the players that coach Edwards will be returning for the 2022 season, according to cornerback Chase Lucas. Edwards also confirmed that he will stay for his fifth season here at ASU. 

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Justin SpangenthalSports Reporter

Justin Spangenthal is a reporter for The State Press, currently covering Men's Golf and Track and Field. Justin transferred to ASU last January and is planning to graduate Fall '23. He is passionate about journalism and hopes to one day launch his own media outlet.

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