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Herm Edwards the CEO

Herm Edwards by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY SA-2.0

Herm Edwards the CEO

Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

When the college football season kicked off one popular topic of conversation was just how bad Arizona State football would be in 2018. This was due to their new head head coach, Herm Edwards. And it isn’t hard to see why people thought the 64-year-old Herm wouldn’t be a great fit in Arizona, as shown by his choice for the offseason workout program:

Words and Actions – a slogan that seems a better fit for a library. I’m sure it struck fear into the hearts of opponents and got the team fired up. Great way to ingratiate yourself with the youngins, Herm.

Not only was Herm Edwards deemed a poor choice for Arizona due to his poor taste in slogans, but also because he had not coached in 11 years (2008 with Kansas City). Not only that, he hadn’t coached in college since the 80s. And when he did coach professionally, it wasn’t great. Throughout his time in the NFL he complied a 54-74 record. Yikes.

Introduction of  Herm Edwards the CEO

Arizona State Athletic Director Ray Anderson didn’t do Edwards any favors in getting fans to fall in love with him as their coach. As if bringing in a 64 year old coach wasn’t enough change, Anderson decided to introduce Edwards as a CEO in his opening statement:

“In the spirit of innovation, our vision for this program is to have a head coach who serves as a CEO and is the 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,” Arizona State AD Ray Anderson said in a statement.

Sure, getting older coaches back on the sideline is in vogue right now. But hiring Herm Edwards seemed to be nothing more than a way for Arizona State to get into the headlines after years of mediocrity. Add in an easy-to-ridicule CEO structure to the program (“This is the gridiron, not Wall Street! – an internet commenter somewhere), and it is easy to see why Sun Devil fans were foaming at the mouth this spring.

Mediocre Devils

From 2007 to 2017 Arizona State complied a 77-63 record, which isn’t awful. Arizona State is actually ahead of Arizona’s 75-66 record over the same time period, which I’m sure makes State fans happy. But that record it is not what you would expect out of a power program. For comparison, here is the record of four notable programs over the same time period:

  • Alabama: 132-20
  • Ohio State: 123-23
  • Florida State: 108-39 
  • USC: 105-40

And State fans were hoping to get back to their 2014 stature when they topped out at 7 in the AP poll and were battling the juggernauts above. But having Herm Edwards as their football CEO didn’t seem the best way to get there. 

The CEO is 2-0

And yet, here we are. The Arizona State Sun Devils (23) are sitting pretty at 2-0 overall with a big win behind them against Michigan State and a couple big games on the horizon. A couple more wins vs. San Diego State and at Washington (10) could get Arizona State back to their ’14 ways. And the CEO is feeling himself saying, 

“We say ‘old school,’ but I say this: I’m from the right school. I’m going to do what’s right. See, ‘right’ never changes. Life goes on, but ‘right’ never changes.”

Yes, we can’t say the CEO structure works just yet. And no, we have no idea if this season will end with a bowl on the line or with the Devils as a punch line. But Herm Edwards has given hope to fans that hope his tenure at Arizona State will not be a disaster, and could be something special.

Mark was raised outside of Boston, so his favorite socks are red and the only Giants he'll ever like are the little ones. He is a michelada advocate and a big fan of 8 game parlays that never work. He has been writing about sports since starting his own blog in 2014, Don't Think Just Throw, and is excited to be a part of The Turf.

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