After a 30-year absence coaching college football, a nine-year drought since he last coached the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL and in the middle of a safe, stress-free career as an NFL TV analyst, Herm Edwards, one of the most recognizable African-American faces in football, is in line to become Arizona State’s next football coach, pending approval of the university president, according to multiple reports.
Herm Edwards to be named Arizona State head coach, per @SunDevilSource https://t.co/PM7P1Jn67F
Edwards, 63, unexpectedly emerged as a serious candidate for the job on Tuesday and he is expected to be interviewed by the university this week. Arizona State president Michael Crow, who needs to sign off on the deal, is expected to return from a trip to China by week’s end.
Twitter heads had been rumbling about Edwards getting the job ever since Arizona State fired Todd Graham on Sunday after six seasons. Edwards says he was flattered by the attention. Since leaving NFL coaching in 2008, Edwards has become an ESPN celebrity and afforded a different kind of fame than he enjoyed as a coach and player.
Edwards, who played defensive back in the pros, was fired after a 2-14 season with the Kansas City Chiefs. He was the first African-American coach in New York Jets history from 2001 to 2005, surviving the Big Apple’s media crockpot with style, grace and passion. He last coached at the college level in 1989 as a cornerbacks coach for San Jose State.
Im very humbled by that, but I still have to go through the interview process this weekend, Herm said on ESPN.
Asked about the opportunity Wednesday morning on SportsCenter, Edwards said: “It has to be the right fit. Coaching is about fits. And this is a place where [Arizona State athletic director] Ray Anderson is there; I know the man (Anderson represented Edwards during his days as an agent), we have the same kind of philosophy on things we want to do. So I’m going to go down there and have a conversation and see what happens.”
Edwards has been enjoying a very comfortable lifestyle as a talking head and inspirational speaker.
A very special guest dropped in during practice today and gave the team a great message to think about with the season upcoming.
Some have already questioned Edwards motives and doomed him to failure. Why would he want to come back at 63 and coach these oversensitive college kids?
Probably because the itch never leaves guys who are truly coaches at heart, regardless of what other careers they embrace. Something can always trigger a relapse . Edwards said coaching the Under Armour All-America Game the past few years has given him perspective on how to handle young players.
“I’ve dealt with these guys the last eight years,” Edwards said Wednesday. “It’s fun. At heart, I’m still a coach. I’m always a coach.”
Herm misses leading young men into battle, molding minds and filling empty, eager shells with knowledge. The roar of the stadium, the adrenaline rush, the pressure of strategizing for the win and the emotional roller coaster of wins and losses is a thrill that cant be duplicated by standing in a studio and offering analysis.
Herm undoubtedly has his haters. Yahoo! Sports said this about the potential hire –
“The overwhelming feeling among athletic administrators, between chuckles, is that this hire will turn into a Lovie Smith Sequel an out-of-touch NFL coach returning to college for one last pay bump before retirement. And potentially paying more than $11 million as a parting gift to Graham to bring in Edwards is the topper.
‘Itll be a learning curve for a guy who has never been an Xs and Os specialist,’ said a veteran NFL executive familiar with Edwards. Theres some real danger in terms of playing against the schools in that conference that know what theyre doing. Its one thing to have a good motivational speaker, its another thing to have a good football coach.
Edwards wants one last crack at his addiction. He wants to be in the trenches one last time. No true competitor wants to end his career how Edwards did with KC. Despite all of his success, he knows as a coach hes better than that. He went to the playoffs four times in six seasons with the Jets and KC.
If he comes back for one shot at glory, thats his prerogative. After all, as Herm is often quoted, You play to win the game!
Herm Edwards – You Play to Win the Game