The Arizona State Sun Devils football program released an official statement that they have indeed hired former Pitt coach Todd Graham to be their new head football coach effective immediately. A press conference is scheduled for 5:30 Arizona time this afternoon, to be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona.
When deciding on a coach, Vice President of Athletics Lisa Love had this to say about the decision:
"In Todd, we have not only hired a young and sitting head coach, but one with a history of success on the field and in hiring top-notch assistant coaches. For the first time in his career, he will be taking over a program with a strong nucleus at the beginning. We are excited to watch Coach Graham take over a very well-positioned program and elevate it to the next level."
School President Dr. Michael Crow was also very excited about the hire:
"What we sought in a football coach was someone who would be in it for the long term at Arizona State, who would build and guide a program that would be competitive in the Pac-12 and on a national level year after year after year, who would communicate and connect with the community, and represent our University with honor. In Todd Graham we have that person."
Graham is 49-29 in his six-year head coaching career, with his most recently stop at Pittsburgh in 2011. He also spent four years at Tulsa where he led the Golden Hurricanes to a 36-17 record under his tutelage along with three bowl victories and three 10-plus win seasons. He also spent time as the head coach at Rice where he lead the Owls to their first bowl game in 45 seasons in 2006 and earned Conference USA Coach of the Year honors. He also spent time as a coordinator under Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia, and a short stint with the Arizona Cardinals as a player.
Turning a program around is also somewhat of his specialty, as he was part of two of the NCAA's top single-season turnarounds in recent history. He turned a 2002 Tulsa squad that 1-11, to an 8-4 team in 2003, and while at West Virginia, the Mountaineers went 3-8 his first season there but improved to 9-4 in his second season. Hopefully he can do something similar down in Tempe.