Arizona State fired coach Todd Graham after six seasons on Sunday despite a win over rival Arizona.
The Sun Devils (7-5, 6-2 Pac-12) are bowl eligible and finished second in the Pac-12 South behind Southern California after rallying to beat the Wildcats 42-30 on Saturday, but the program is not on the trajectory athletic director Ray Anderson wanted. Graham and his staff will remain with the program through Arizona State’s bowl game.
“From the moment he arrived in Tempe, Todd helped change the culture and emphasized the student in student-athlete here at Arizona State, elevating the program to unprecedented heights in the classroom and strong citizenship across the board,” Anderson said in a statement. “However, our athletic department, university and community expect our football program to compete on the field for Pac-12 titles, be competitively consistent and qualify to participate in major bowl games on a regular basis. In evaluating Todd’s body of work over a four-year period, it became clear that a change is necessary.”
Graham, 52, has three seasons left on a contract that runs through the 2020 season and is owed $12 million. A search for his replacement begins immediately.
Graham had immediate success in the desert after leaving Pittsburgh, leading the Sun Devils to three straight bowls and a pair of 10-win seasons. Arizona State played in the Cactus Bowl in 2015 but lost that game and finished with a losing record (6-7).
The Sun Devils took another step back last season, finishing 5-7 behind a defense that ranked among the worst in FBS.
Arizona State struggled to open the 2017 season, laboring to get past New Mexico State before losing to San Diego State and Texas Tech. The Sun Devils have had some impressive wins, beating No. 24 Oregon, No. 5 Washington and Utah in a span of four weeks.
Six winning seasons not enough for Sumlin
Texas A&M has fired coach Kevin Sumlin after six winning seasons.
The first black head coach in program history was 51-26 and 25-23 in the Southeastern Conference and never had a losing season. But his first year at A&M was his best, and he never could come close to matching it.
In 2012, Sumlin had a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback in Johnny Manziel and ushered in the program’s move from the Big 12 to the SEC by going 11-2. That earned him a new contract and $5 million annual salary, but the Aggies have not won more than nine games since.
The Aggies ended their regular season on Saturday by losing to LSU . They dropped to 7-5 and finished 4-4 in the SEC for the fourth time under Sumlin.
Athletic director Scott Woodward, who was hired by the school in the summer of 2016, said in a statement that Sumlin made Texas A&M “a better all-around football program and led our program with dignity and character.”
“Our expectations at A&M are very high,” Woodward said. “We believe that we should compete for SEC championships on an annual basis and, at times, national championships. I believe that we need a new coach to take us there.”
Sumlin, 53, had two years left on his contract, which calls for a $10 million buyout to be paid within 60 days of his termination. Texas A&M said the terms of the deal would be honored.