For better or for worse, Arizona State has a new head football coach.
News broke Wednesday morning former Pitt coach Todd Graham was headed to Tempe after leading Pitt to a 6-6 record and second place finish in the Big East.
It ended a seventeen-day search after ASU Vice President for Athletics Lisa Love fired Dennis Erickson on November 28.
Graham, who coached the Panthers for just one season, wasn’t mentioned as a replacement for Erickson until word first leaked on Twitter from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
From a national perspective, the hiring received mixed reviews.
“Bewilderment, I guess would be the best word for it,” Sports Illustrated college football insider Stewart Mandel told Brad Cesmat on “Big Guy on Sports.” “ASU has had several weeks now to do this coaching search and this is the best they could come up with?”
Graham inherits a program that stumbled to a 6-6 finish after storming out of the gates 6-2 and establishing themselves as the mid-season favorite to represent the southern division in the Pac-12 title game. A lack of focus on and off the field, ultimately led Love to fire Erickson following the Devils regular season-ending loss to Cal at Sun Devil Stadium on November 25.
Passion on and off the field won’t be a problem with the Devils’ new leader.
“He is incredibly intense,” ESPN college football analyst Brock Huard explained to Cesmat. “He’s high-energy…the word on the street is he’s a pretty tough customer and really doesn’t settle for second in anything. Hopefully (he) will create a culture of discipline that I think is needed in Tempe.”
The 47-year old Graham will be making his fourth coaching stop since 2006. He also had stints at Rice (2006) and Tulsa (2007-09) before taking over at Pitt for Dave Wannstedt.
His career record is 49-29.
To hear more from today’s show click here for a sampling of what guests had to say about the hire.