“It Wasn’t Hard To Get Intel … Arizona State Athletics Wanted A Coaching Change”: Herm Edwards’ Tenure At ASU Was Sabotaged

When legendary football coach Herm Edwards was let go from his post as the head coach of Arizona State University Sundevils after a Sept. 18 30–21 loss to Eastern Michigan, many were left scratching their heads. The coach was veritably fired from the field and could not even address his student-athletes adequately or have a chance to get himself together for his next transition.

Now the reasons behind the abrupt firing are coming more into focus, and the allegations reveal sabotage within the ranks of Herm’s team.

“An opposing coach recently told The Athletic that it wasn’t hard to get intel on this season’s team because some within Arizona State athletics wanted a coaching change,” reported The Athletic.

If the allegations are true, ASU athletic department staff members willfully leaked information with the expectancies and volition of securing Edwards’s termination. Even though Edwards never had a losing season, going 26-20 as ASU’s head coach, he entered the 2022 campaign under intense fire and scrutiny. Edwards’ alleged lack of familiarity with the bylaws of the NCAA made members of his department’s staff believe he needed to be monitored constantly.

“For more than a year, the NCAA has investigated recruiting allegations within the football program,” reported The Athletic. “Edwards and his staff are accused of hosting recruits during the non-contact period put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Edwards has lost five assistants during the probe, including defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce and offensive coordinator Zak Hill. With uncertainty swirling around the program, recruiting has suffered significantly.”

However, when it comes to the game, ASU lost its first one since firing Edwards. On Saturday night, the Sun Devils fell to the defending Pac-12 champions, Utah, 34-13 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.

The former NFL head coach and ESPN Analyst was named the 24th head coach of Sun Devil Football by Vice President of University Athletics Ray Anderson on Dec. 3, 2017. He was tabbed by Anderson as someone who will be a “central leader with a collaborative staff around him that will elevate the performance of players and coaches on the field, in the classroom and in our community. Equally important, [Edwards] will be a dynamic and tireless recruiter,” via the Sun Devils website.

Something was working at the time because, in January 2020, ASU vice president for athletics Ray Anderson announced a contract extension for Edwards running through the 2024 season.

“Dr. Michael Crow (ASU President) and I are extremely encouraged with the overall direction of the football program under Coach Edwards and his staff, Anderson said via the Sun Devils website. “They have built a foundation that is recruiting at unprecedented levels and we must ensure the continuation of that effort. This five-year commitment to Coach Edwards will demonstrate to prospective student-athletes and their parents the long-term commitment the University has toward his valued leadership.

“Additionally, Coach Edwards and staff have increased the win total, earned two bowl invitations, including one bowl victory, and have developed our young student-athletes at a very high level. We’ve had several freshman All-Americans in the past two years and we played 32 true and redshirt freshmen in 2019. Coach Edwards has assembled an impressive staff of coordinators, full-time assistants, consultants and analysts and has hired and developed young coaches as well, such as Sun Devil alum Derek Hagan.”

If Edwards was coloring outside the NCAA lines for recruitment violations and the ASU leadership took a pause and pivoted because of it, that’s one thing. But his staff fed information to rivals, left him open to criticism, and eventually laid the foundation for his firing that’s sabotage. The way ASU did a coach with Edwards lineage was undignified and it just keeps getting worse.

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