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Todd Graham is Out at Arizona State

What happens now for the Sun Devils?

Arizona v Arizona State Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The college coaching carousel is coming to Arizona State. Sunday morning, Todd Graham had a 8am meeting with ASU Athletic Director Ray Anderson. At the end of that meeting Todd Graham was shown the door. Coach Graham is out and now the search for a new coach begins in Tempe.

After the press conference Ray Anderson stated that he wants a “dynamic recruiter” and “competitive consistency” from the new Sun Devil head coach. Anderson wants somebody that can go into the living rooms in Texas, Louisiana, Southern California, and Arizona to sell a vision that the Sun Devils apparently have.

NCAA Football: Arizona at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Texas and Louisiana huh?

Les Miles or Mike Gundy, white courtesy phone please.

It’s all speculation at this point as to who Ray Anderson is trying to target. He said in his press conference that he would be tough to get a hold of for the next week or so. He won’t be returning calls or emails to people.

Ray Anderson and ASU President Michael Crow need a coach in place by December 20 due to the early signing period in college football.

Who could they target? Good question.

Les Miles, Kevin Sumlin, Mike Norvell, and even Mike Gundy have been mentioned by different outlets. The two names that get mentioned most often are Les Miles and Kevin Sumlin.

Sumlin was fired by Texas A&M on Sunday, so he becomes available immediately. Is he a good fit for Arizona State?

He certainly has connections in Texas that he would use to get guys to come to Tempe. His offense is similar to what fans have seen at Arizona State and around the Pac-12.

However, what is his price tag going to be?

NCAA Football: Auburn at Texas A&M Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Les Miles, former coach at Louisiana State, has been unemployed for about a year. He could go into Texas and Louisiana to recruit top flight guys. The Mad Hatter has a personality that can get bigger than the program, so that could cause issues with Ray Anderson.

NCAA Football: Jacksonville State at Louisiana State Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Let me ask the same question with Miles that I did with Sumlin. What is the price tag?

I am guessing that a $4-5 million dollar per season contract is what it will take to lure one of these two to Arizona State.

The school wants the splash hire, but at what cost?

Ray Anderson also said that they have to figure out where the money is going to come from to payout Todd Graham.


The school has to pay $12.3 million to get Coach Graham out of town and then spend another $4-5 million for somebody like Sumlin or Miles? Financially, does that make sense for the Sun Devils?

If things don’t get turned around, what kind of money are we talking about in another 4-5 years to payout another coach?

Do they contact Mike Norvell, former Sun Devil offensive coordinator? Rumors have it that Arkansas is looking at him right now. Would Norvell even want to come back?

NCAA Football: Southern Methodist at Memphis Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Money makes the world go around right?

The contract with Coach Graham comes with no offsets if Graham takes another job somewhere else. All that $12.3 million is owed to Graham. If he takes another job he’ll make his new salary and have $12.3 million in the bank. Fiscally, that was irresponsible on the part of the Sun Devils to allow that.

I want Coach Graham’s agent to say the least.

The other aspect of Ray Anderson’s search that may chase away some head coaches is that they will have to retain some coaches that are Graham leftovers. I’m not sure how that will go over with guys like Les Miles or Kevin Sumlin. Probably won’t go over well. Anderson said it’s not a mandate to retain the coaches, but who really believes that?

Todd Graham will coach in the bowl game, so why fire him now? I guess it doesn’t really matter when you fire him. He was a dead coach walking from the moment his team lost to San Diego State.

Ray Anderson says he took a look at the resume since Graham has been here and that convinced him that the program wasn’t going to get much better than it is now. Now is the time to move forward for the program.

My thought is that the Sun Devil program wants to be looked at as a big time program, but how much are they willing to spend to get to that level?

If Ray Anderson is serious about putting his mark on the Sun Devil program, it’s time for him to put all of his chips in the middle table and say “I’m in.”

Quit talking Ray, do it.

Anything other than that is just asking for more of the same mediocre Arizona State football we’ve seen in the past.