Updated Dec 14, 2011 - 10:52 pm
Arizona State's hiring of Todd Graham is a good hire
A good hire for Arizona State football and I'm about to tell you why.
Credentials since 2001 are as follows:
Linebackers coach and defensive coordinator at West Virginia under current Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez.
Defensive coordinator at Tulsa.
Head coach at Rice in 2006. The Owls went to a bowl game in his one year for the first time in more than 40 years. They were 1-10 the previous year. He scrapped the triple-option and his system worked.
Head coach at Tulsa from 2007-2010. Three 10-win seasons. Three bowl games. His 2010 Golden Hurricanes finished the year ranked 24th in the AP poll. His 36-17 record was the best winning percentage of a coach at Tulsa who was/is at the school for more than one year since the 1940s.
Head coach at Pittsburgh. A very average 6-6 year with a bowl berth. He took the job on January 10. The recruiting class was not his and he clearly was not their first choice. A messy situation he walked into. I know he knew what he was getting into. That doesn't mean it wasn't messy.
Tempe is his sixth stop in 10 years. I look at that and see a coach climbing the ladder and climbing it fast. Every move has been vertical -- including this one.
If you're already worried about him leaving Tempe you're only realizing what you already know, Arizona State likely isn't a final stop career job. It should be the least of your worries. Go ahead and spend that energy focusing on a 10-win season. Try to look through the clouds and bitterness and see if you can work towards the Rosy red color a little further west. Fan support plays a role in that, believe it or not.
Look at it this way, if he's leaving on his own it will mean he's having success here. Don't bring the Pitt 6-6 after one year argument. Dave Wannstedt didn't even resign until December 7 (putting them behind), they hired Mike Haywood on December 16 and he's arrested on December 31 (being let go on January 1) and Graham gets introduced on January 10.
Not the most ideal of circumstances, but it was a step up for him. The opportunity arose and he jumped at it. He wasn't afraid. Look at this track record and one can assume the program was going to be turned around.
In his first head coaching job he hired Major Applewhite as his offensive coordinator. After that year he left for Alabama and is now at Texas -- same role.
In his second head coaching job he hired Guz Malzahn. Yes, the Malzahn that won a national title last year with Auburn and just received his first college head coaching job on Wednesday at Arkansas State.
Graham hires talent. He surrounds himself with smart people.
Rodriguez just raided his staff earlier this month. Graham had hired them because he saw a bunch of guys out of a job when Rodriguez didn't last at Michigan (remember, that firing was after the January 1 bowl game). A January 10 hiring equals slim pickings.
In 2007 and 2008 his offenses LED the country in yards per game.
Did I mention he came up through the ranks as a "defensive" coach?
West Virginia went from 3-8 to 9-4 and Tulsa was 1-11 to 8-4 in years before he became defensive coordinator and years he was. Obviously the offenses would have a big hand in that as well but no matter how great the offense is, you have to stop occasionally if you think you're going to win games consistently.
There it is.
That's a good hire. Not great and didn't knock my socks off, but let's be honest, there was a near-zero chance that was going to happen.
Arizona State did well for them.
What I learned this week…
I learned Baristas Coffee Co. is coming to the Phoenix area in early 2012. It has been described as a cross between Starbucks and Hooters.
I looked into it a little and I think the Hooters comparison was generous. Wow.
Tweet of the week…
@ReggieMillerTNT: Just spoke with my neighbor Ryan Braun, he says test is bogus, can only believe a man for his word.. Truth will always come out..
Time will tell. The court of public opinion doesn't do a very good job of waiting for that time.
Suggestion of the week…
I hope what he says is followed through. It is a privilege to play a sport at the college level and those kids need to understand that.