Arizona State last night announced the hiring of Herm Edwards with an impressive world salad.
Arizona State University and Vice President of University Athletics Ray Anderson has unveiled plans for a restructured ASU football model and named former NFL head coach Herman Edwards as the 24th head coach of Sun Devil Football, pending approval by the Arizona Board of Regents.
The department’s New Leadership Model will be similar to an NFL approach using a general manager structure. It’s a collaborative approach to managing the ASU football program that includes sport and administrative divisions, which will operate as distinct, but collective units focused on elevating all aspects of Sun Devil Football. This structure will allow the department to form a multi-layered method to the talent evaluation and recruiting processes, increase its emphasis on both student-athlete and coach development and retention, and provide a boost in resource allocation and generation.
“Our goal for this football program is to reach unprecedented heights, and therefore we need to find a way to operate more innovatively and efficiently than we have in the past,” Anderson said. “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. Equally important, the head coach will be a dynamic and tireless recruiter.”
Perhaps a person well-versed in buzzwords and aspiration-speak can make some sense of that. The rest of us are left a bit bewildered by the complexity of it all. What seems meaningful is that the statement’s language dovetails nicely with the idea that Edwards is some sort motivational tsunami poised to lift the Sun Devils to new heights.
And I’m not saying it’s not going to work. But it could be argued that Edwards’ biggest qualification for this job is his ability to act and sound like a coach on television. He went 54-74 in his NFL tenure and hasn’t been in a college position since the George H.W. Bush administration.
He is 63, hasn’t recruited in decades, and is joining a division with talent-rich USC and Chip Kelly. How, exactly, is he expected to hit the ground running?
Look, Edwards is charismatic and charming. He possesses a Tony Robbins-like quality that can be catnip for programs. He clearly knows the game. He just may not know how to handle all that other parts that come with being a big-name college coach. Judging by the cryptic release, his duties may be more narrowly defined than other colleagues’.
Arizona State clearly thinks they are on to something here. Something new, different, and seemingly without a catch. Something too good to be true. Time will tell.
Edwards feels like a high-risk, high-reward option that I can’t fully comprehend. Hope the powers-that-be read all the fine print.