Arizona State fires Herm Edwards following loss to MAC school

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TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson made a calculated gamble in hiring a football coach five years ago, one that earned the school a national mocking.

He hoped Herm Edwards, despite no head college coaching experience and nine years in a television studio, would give the program the jolt it needed, usher it into a new era through an NFL-like leadership model.

Edwards managed to quiet many of the critics with some early wins on the field and recruiting trail.

When ugly losses piled up and an NCAA investigation into alleged recruiting violations lingered, Anderson decided to make a change.

Arizona State and Edwards mutually agreed to part ways a day after the Sun Devils lost 30-21 to Eastern Michigan of the Mid-American Conference as heavy home favorites.

“I don’t regret at all because I believed it was the right thing to do then,” Anderson said. “But I also believe that when you come to a point where you realize that you’re not always right, and perhaps it’s not working at the level you want and you don’t have the patience to wait because the world is changing really fast out there, then you make changes. That’s what we’ve done.”

Edwards managed to hold onto his job after an up-and-down 2021, but another shaky loss led to his firing three games into his fifth season. Arizona State is still awaiting word on possible NCAA sanctions for allegedly hosting recruits on campus during an NCAA-mandated COVID-19 dead period in 2020.

Edwards went 46-26 at Arizona State, including 1-2 this season and 17-14 in the Pac-12. The Sun Devils never won more than eight games in a season under Edwards and fell short of Anderson’s goal of playing in major bowl games.

Running backs coach Shaun Aguano will serve as interim coach.

The Sun Devils begin Pac-12 play next with three ranked teams: No. 13 Utah at home Saturday, followed by No. 7 Southern California and No. 18 Washington.

“Our future begins now and our responsibility is to try to infuse new energy, new urgency into the program,” Anderson said.

Edwards, a former NFL head coach, was considered an unconventional hire when he was tapped by University President Michael Crow and Anderson to lead the middling program. A former NFL agent, Anderson represented Edwards during his playing days with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Edwards spent the nine previous years as an NFL TV analyst and had not been a college coach since serving as San Jose State’s defensive backs coach from 1987-89.

The loquacious coach changed the narrative his first few seasons in Tempe, proving to be an adept recruiter while leading the Sun Devils to two straight bowl appearances.

The goodwill didn’t last.

Arizona State was hit hard by COVID-19 during the delayed 2020 season, finishing 2-2. The Sun Devils opened the 2021 season 5-1 before suffering consecutive ugly losses, giving up 56 straight points to Utah and Washington State.

Edwards was thought to be on the hot seat at the end of the season, but Anderson said he would remain as coach following a lopsided win over rival Arizona.

Arizona State had an exodus of players and coaches during the offseason, losing five assistant coaches, 11 players drafted or signed by NFL teams and numerous key players to the transfer portal.

Edwards rebuilt the Sun Devils mainly through the transfer portal, adding 43 new players to the roster.

The Sun Devils opened the season with an expectedly-easy win over FCS opponent Northern Arizona and played OK at No. 8 Oklahoma State before fading late in 34-17 loss.

Arizona State hoped it righted itself against Eastern Michigan, only to fall flat against a 20 1/2-point underdog at home. The Sun Devils could not stop the Eagles defensively, were plagued by key penalties and became the first Pac-12 school to lose to a MAC school.

“We had a lot of faith and confidence that with the right coaching staff and with some of the folks that we were anticipating bringing in, we would have an opportunity to really bounce back,” Anderson said. “We were looking to do that with the leadership we had and thought we had an opportunity to do that – and it did not materialize.”

Texas State hires Incarnate Word coach Kinne to lead Bobcats

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Texas State hired Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne on Friday to lead a Sun Belt program that has had only one winning season since moving up to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The 34-year-old former Tulsa quarterback has made a fast rise in coaching since ending his professional career in 2017.

After three years as an offensive analyst at SMU, Arkansas and the Philadelphia Eagles, Kinne became offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2020. He held the same role for UCF in 2021 before landing the head coaching job at FCS Incarnate Word this season.

Incarnate Word is 10-1 and averaging 53 points and 8.3 yards per play, both FCS highs, heading into its playoff game Saturday against Furman. Kinne will remain with Incarnate Word through their playoff run.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said. “We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas. Eat ‘Em Up!”

Texas State fired Jake Spavital last week after the Bobcats won just 13 games in his four seasons.

Kinne signed a five-year contract, the school said. Terms were not immediately released.

“My goal was to hire someone with demonstrated leadership experience, success as a head coach, established relationships with Texas football coaches, and success with recruiting and developing players,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse. “I sought a leader with a plan to capitalize on our location in the heart of the best high school football in the country.”

Florida Atlantic hires Tom Herman as football coach

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Herman will take over at Florida Atlantic as it heads into its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

The hire comes just days after FAU fired Willie Taggart, who went 15-18 in his three seasons with the Owls. Details of the contract with Herman were not immediately available.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tom Herman to Paradise,” FAU Director of Athletics Brian White said Thursday. “Throughout the process and the more we talked with Coach Herman, the more it became apparent to me that he was the right person to lead our football program. Beyond his knowledge of the game, which is obvious by his success over the years, he also truly cares about the young people in his program.”

FAU’s final season in Conference USA ended with a 5-7 record and an overtime loss to Western Kentucky. The Owls will be in the American next season.

Herman returns to college football after spending the 2021 season with the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.

Herman was 22-4 at Houston, a mark that helped him land the head coaching job at Texas where he went 32-18 with four straight bowl trips in 2017-2020. He also was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ 2014 national championship season, as well as stops at Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

“All the pieces are in place at FAU for us to be successful,” Herman said. “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”