Arizona State is firing head coach Todd Graham after a 7-5 season.
The decision to fire Graham comes a day after Arizona State beat rival Arizona 42-30 in the Territorial Cup. The game moved ASU to 6-3 in the Pac-12 South and put the Sun Devils alone in second place in the division.
The bowl-eligible season and second-place division finish was apparently not enough for Graham to keep his job. After the game, Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson offered a no comment when asked about Graham’s job status. Graham’s continued employment with the school had become a source of speculation in the week leading into the Arizona game.
Graham will coach in the team’s bowl game.
“From the moment he arrived in Tempe, Todd helped change the culture and emphasized the student in student-athlete here at Arizona State, elevating the program to unprecedented heights in the classroom and strong citizenship across the board,” Anderson said in a statement.
“However, our athletic department, university and community expect our football program to compete on the field for Pac-12 titles, be competitively consistent and qualify to participate in major bowl games on a regular basis. In evaluating Todd’s body of work over a four-year period, it became clear that a change is necessary.”
In six seasons with Arizona State, Graham compiled a 46-31 overall record and a 31-23 record in the Pac-12. He had 10-win seasons in 2013 and 2014 but his teams have gone 6-7, 5-7 and now 7-5 in the past three seasons. Despite the recent relative lack of success, Graham leaves ASU with four second-place or better finishes in the Pac-12 in six years.
Is Arizona State setting an unrealistically high bar?
Graham came to Arizona State after he spent the 2011 season as Pitt’s head coach. He was with the Panthers for one season after he spent four at Tulsa, where he was 36-17.
Arizona State becomes the third Pac-12 team to start a search for a new coach for the 2018 season. Oregon State coach Gary Andersen resigned during the season and UCLA fired coach Jim Mora after a Week 12 loss to USC. The Bruins moved quickly to find Mora’s replacement, announcing Saturday that former Oregon coach Chip Kelly would be the team’s new coach.
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