Admit it, on Dec. 14, 2011, the day Todd Graham was announced as Arizona State's head coach, you didn't think he'd still be Arizona State's head coach on July 30, 2015. After spending one year as Rice's head coach before leaving for Tulsa and, after four years at Tulsa, ducking out in the worst possible way after one year at Pittsburgh, who could have blamed you?
But, three seasons later and on the eve of a fourth, Graham says his actions have outspoken his, uh, earlier actions. And now recruits have stopped asking if he'll still be there by the time their senior year rolls around.
"No, I really don't," Graham said Thursday at Pac-12 Media Days in Hollywood. "I've been pretty straightforward with recruits about where we're at. I've paid my house off and I've donated half a million dollars. I don't know what else I can do. Obviously, too, here's the other thing I tell recruits. We're building a $300 million new stadium and football complex, not a lot of people around the country are putting that kind of commitment into the program. You look at the commitment our university has made to our coaching staff, assembling one of the best and using the resources to do that speaks volumes about the commitment. I don't get that question much anymore."
Another, unspoken reason Graham doesn't get that question anymore? The program he's building in Tempe. The Sun Devils have improved in every one of his three seasons, from an 8-5 debut, to a Pac-12 South title in 2013, to a second straight 10-win season and a No. 12 final AP ranking in 2014. With a No. 16 preseason ranking by the coaches, Arizona State has a chance to make a run in 2015. The Sun Devils open with Texas A&M in Houston and get division favorites USC and Oregon as well as downstate rival Arizona in Tempe this fall.