Home / Sports World / Arizona State spent $12 million to replace Todd Graham with Herm Edwards while keeping both coordinators. Welp, both coordinators just left.

Arizona State spent $12 million to replace Todd Graham with Herm Edwards while keeping both coordinators. Welp, both coordinators just left.


Both coordinators are gone in Edwards’ first week.

That Arizona State hired Herm Edwards to be the head coach of its football team in this, the year of our lord 2017, was weird. (So was the press release announcing it, which read like a parody of a 28-year-old tech CEO from a Silicon Valley episode. And so was his introductory press conference, which was just extraordinarily bizarre.)

ASU fired Todd Graham after the season, putting the school on the hook for Graham’s $12 million buyout. When the Sun Devils announced they were replacing Graham with Edwards, their ostensible plan was to keep all or most of Graham’s assistants in place and put Edwards on top of a “New Leadership Model.�

It’s rare for schools to keep a fired head coach’s assistants, but since they were under contract, ASU had the option. Athletic director Ray Anderson said he wanted a coach who’d consider keeping offensive coordinator Billy Napier and defensive coordinator Phil Bennett. Both had just finished their first seasons in Tempe.

Edwards wanted to keep them, too:

“I don’t know if they’re Todd Graham’s guys. They’re football guys. Football guys are married to football, in the end. You keep good coaches.�

“You don’t get rid of them because they’re somebody else’s guy. Coaches belong to football,� Edwards shared with Arizona Sports 98.7.

Edwards started at Arizona State the week of Dec. 11. Both coordinators he wanted to keep were gone by Friday.

That Tuesday, Bennett said he wouldn’t be returning:

“He offered me a job,” Bennett said. “He was very gracious. He’s a good man. You’re going to see that. Football guy. I loved my conversations with him. I told him I just wish it was at another time in my life and unfortunately it’s not.”

Bennett met with Edwards twice and gave him an answer Tuesday morning. He described his decision to leave as “anguished” because of what he sees as a bright ASU future.

“It’s like I told Herm, I see these kids getting better and better,” Bennett said. “You look what’s back on offense and we’re growing on defense. Every recruit we’re on, I’m going to tell them you’ve got to stay with your commitment.”

That was one coordinator down.

And that Friday, news broke that Napier would leave, too:

Arizona State offensive coordinator Billy Napier plans to accept the Louisiana-Lafayette head coaching job, sources told FootballScoop on Friday.

Oh, and college football’s early signing period is next week.

This does not appear to be going well.