Zone Read: AZ HS Coaches Talk Todd Graham

The Todd Graham era at Arizona State ended last weekend as he was fired by Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson after leading the Sun Devils to a 7-5 record, including 6-3 in Pac-12 South play. Graham will coach the team in their upcoming bowl game.

Anderson made it quite clear at his press conference on Sunday afternoon he wants to see the new head coach take recruiting to another level moving forward.

Ray_Anderson_ASU“Certainly, in terms of facilities we don’t have to apologize and feel like we’re second to anybody anymore, in my opinion,” Anderson said. “Now that we have that we can go out and recruit against anybody. We have to effectively recruit in California, in Arizona, in places in addition to Texas at a high level because the other Pac-12 schools against whom we play are going to continue to really mine those areas.” 

So I decided to reach out to a number of high school coaches around the state, off-the- record, to get their thoughts on how Graham and his staff handled themselves recruiting student-athletes to ASU during his six years in Tempe.

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“[Offensive line] Coach [Rob] Sale and [former O-Line Coach] Chris Thompsen were extremely professional. They had a lot of questions and were extremely accommodating to any requests I had. I have never communicated with Graham as a coach.” 

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Mike_Norvell“ASU always recruited [our school] well. Started back with Chip Long and Mike Norvell. The ASU staff has tried to get Tucson kids to Tempe. More recently the new staff worked hard to build a good relationship with me and my players.”  

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“I’ve never really had any interaction with Graham. I have spoken to a few of his other coaches previously and have a good relationship with [Assistant Athletic Director for Recruiting] Donnie Yantis. Coach Yantis has been great with staying in contact with me.”

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“I think, personally, Coach Graham is a high-quality guy. As far as how he recruited, I don’t have a lot to say because except I always feel like my guys get slighted. But I felt like that with his predecessors, as well. I think you have to go back to the Bruce Snyder era as far as the last time there’s been a really good relationship between ASU and Arizona high school coaches.”

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Todd Graham practice“I have never met Coach Graham but every spring one of his coaches comes down and I meet with them about our athletes. I always felt that ASU made an effort to find out about our kids.”

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“All my interactions with [Graham] were good. He’s a good guy. Maybe we didn’t have the kind of players they wanted.” 

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“I had nothing but great experiences working with Coach Graham’s staff. Always very professional and friendly. Made me feel they appreciated high school coaches.”