Football: Arizona State announces Todd Graham as head coach

By Lauren Kirschman

Former Pitt football head coach Todd Graham will take the same position at Arizona State,… Former Pitt football head coach Todd Graham will take the same position at Arizona State, Arizona State Vice President of Athletics Lisa Love and Chief Operating Officer Steve Patterson announced on Wednesday.

“Criteria for our head coach was established, and the word that was at the forefront of the discussions was ‘energy’…energy toward promoting our program in the community and with former players,” Love said in the press release. “Energy toward instilling discipline, leadership and in recruiting. Energy towards representing our brand in every facet of the program.

“In Todd, we have not only hired a young and sitting head coach, but one with a history of success on the field and in hiring top-notch assistant coaches. For the first time in his career, he will be taking over a program with a strong nucleus at the beginning. We are excited to watch Coach Graham take over a very well-positioned program and elevate it to the next level.”

Arizona State President Dr. Michael Crow said in the press release that Arizona State “sought in a football coach….someone who would be in it for the long term.” He added that the program looked for someone who “would build and guide a program that would be competitive in the Pac-12 and on a national level year after after year.”

Pitt Athletics spokesman E.J. Borghetti couldn’t be reached for comment, but Pitt Athletic Director Steve Pederson will speak to the press at 5:30.

This will mark Pitt’s third coaching search in a year. After former head coach Dave Wannstedt resigned under pressure, the Panthers hired Michael Haywood and fired him shortly after he was a arrested for a felony domestic abuse charge in South Bend, Ind. Pitt hired Graham as Haywood’s replacement.

Graham spent one season at Pitt, finishing the the year 6-6. This isn’t the first time Graham would leave a school after one season. He coached Rice for one season in 2006 before leaving for Tulsa.

Last season, the Panthers played Kentucky in the BBVA Compass Bowl without  Wannstedt, who resigned under pressure. Interim head coach Phil Bennett coached that game.