Arizona State fires football coach Todd Graham after six seasons

SHARE Arizona State fires football coach Todd Graham after six seasons

TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 25: Head coach Todd Graham of the Arizona State Sun Devils watches from the sidelines during the first half of the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Sun Devil Stadium on November 25, 2017 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona State fired football cocach Todd Graham on Sunday, axing the sixth-year coach just hours after the bowl-eligible Sun Devils beat rival Arizona to wrap up the regular season.

Graham, 52, went 46-31 during his time in Tempe, Arizona. He led the Sun Devils to the 2013 Pac-12 South title and posted the program’s first back-to-back 10-win seasons in more than three decades.

But the final three seasons were a struggle, mostly because of poor defense, shaky recruiting and staff turnover.

After the strong start, ASU went 18-19 over the last three seasons, forcing Vice President of Athletics Ray Anderson to make a decision. Graham could coach the Sun Devils in a bowl game next month, but it’s not yet known if he will have the opportunity to do so.

According to multiple sources, Anderson informed Graham in a meeting Sunday morning. Coaches then began informing players. Anderson planned to meet with team and staff members later Sunday morning.Arizona State announced a 1 p.m. MT news conference with athletic director Ray Anderson “regarding the football program.”

n August, school president Michael Crow had said it was unacceptable for ASU to have consecutive losing seasons. Anderson said he wanted to see signs of program stability. In some ways, ASU delivered.

Picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 South, the Sun Devils showed mid-season promise with wins over then-No. 4 Washington and Utah. After slipping briefly, they beat rival Arizona to finish the regular season 7-5 and 6-3 in the Pac-12, good for second place in the South division.

It wasn’t enough.

This move is costly. According to terms of his contract, ASU owes Graham the balance of his contract, which runs through June 30, 2021. That puts his buyout at over $12 million.

Possible candidates include Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason and Michigan assistant head coach Pep Hamilton.

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