Arizona State AD Ray Anderson revealed Tuesday that Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham will return for a sixth season in Tempe in 2017.
“There should be no question in anyone’s mind as far as I’m concerned,” Anderson said, via ArizonaSports.com. “He’s brought stability here and discipline and accountability. He’s brought an academic upgrade to this football program that no one can deny, and everyone should appreciate tremendously where we’ve come from in that regard. I have great appreciation for that, as does Dr. Crow, as does our Board of Regents. You put his cumulative body of work together and it certainly translates for me that he will continue to be our coach.”
Arizona State started this season 5-1 but have succumbed to the combination of youth, injuries and injury-induced youth, dropping four in a row ahead of Saturday's visit to No. 7 Washington.
Anderson acknowledged that reality while not excusing his club's 4-game slide.
“The football side we will all admit is not up to our standards,” Anderson said. “Injuries and youth are part of what every coach at some point has to navigate, and you have to do it. One of my favorite sayings is from Tony Dungy when he coached the Indianapolis Colts. It was up in his locker room: ‘No excuses, no explanation.’ You’ve just got to get it done. That’s’ the leader’s chore at the end of the day and I have great faith that Todd will get it done and turn it around.”
Graham is 39-24 in nearly five full seasons with the Sun Devils, but, after booking a 20-7 mark over 2013-14 with a Pac-12 South championship in '13, has dipped to 11-12 over the past two seasons with two games still remaining this fall. Graham signed a 1-year extension last fall that bumped his salary to $3 million and pushed his contract into 2019.
“Todd has been very strong on the fund-raising side, on the community-relations side, the branding side, the media accessibility side. I think he does a really good job there and again most importantly on the academic side with our student-athletes and with their efforts in community service," Anderson said.
“What Todd acknowledges and what I acknowledge is we all strive to be better on the field and we will get better, but I’m a big Todd Graham fan.”