Arizona High School Coaches React To Herm Edwards, New Interim Head Coach

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Four Arizona high school football coaches discussed their initial thoughts on ASU parting ways with Herm Edwards, how they feel the interim coach will perform, and the potential effects on recruiting in-state. Rick Garretson (Chandler), Michael Zdebski (Hamilton), Jason Mohns (Saguaro) and Jason Jewell (Brophy College Prep) all weigh-in on the news.


Initial Reactions

Jason Mohns, Saguaro 

The first thing Mohns addressed were his thoughts on how the change will effect Herm Edwards and his family. Mohns says he related more personally to this situation, having had a father who coached professionally helps him put the news in perspective. 

“The first thing I think about is coach Edwards and his family. You know it’s disappointing for him, I know he put a lot in to try to turn it around.”

Mohns’ ties to the Sun Devils run deep, his father coached football at ASU and his mother was a cheerleader. Having played for ASU football himself, he’s hoping to see the program return to better days. 

“I’m hoping we can find the right person to re-energize that program and take it back on track.”


Jason Jewell, Brophy College Prep

Brophy College Prep head coach Jason Jewell wan’t surprised by the news after seeing Eastern Michigan defeat the Sun Devils, 30-21.

“Doesn’t shock me. They were already under a tight leash anyway with all of the other scandals. And for Eastern Michigan to come in and handle them, that’s not a good look. No knock on staff at EMU either.”


Michael Zdebski, Hamilton

“I only knew Herm as a person, not as a coach and I know he was all about values and good lessons.”

Like Mohns, Zdebski emphasized his thoughts towards the Edwards family and the effect on the rest of the coaching staff. He says he always admired his ability to coach young football players to become exceptional young men. 

“There’s a lot of good things that coaches can do but that message is missed because society is so engrained with wins and losses. And we sometimes forget about the development of young men and that’s something that you can’t receive in all aspects of life.”


Rick Garretson, Chandler 

The Chandler head football coach expressed his thoughts on ASU and Herm Edwards parting ways but was immediately thrilled to see the choice for intirem head coach.

“My phone has been going a little crazy, that’s the college football world. But this creates opportunities and what a better guy to go in as interim head coach and take over than Shaun Aguano. It’s exciting for the Chandler football community.”


Interim Head Coach Shaun Aguano

ASU released a statement that named Sun Devil RB coach Shaun Aguano the interim head coach. However, his relationship with the state of Arizona far exceeds his time on the ASU football staff. Shaun Agunao is recognized as the Chandler head football coach that turned the Wolves into a nationally recognized powerhouse. In his 10 years at Chandler High School he snapped a 17-game losing streak against rival Hamilton, was named Top-25 on MaxPreps three times and finished the second half of his career at Chandler with a 63-8 record. 

Rick Garretson, Chandler 

“He really has the kids best interest in mind, he’s great with his coaches and he’s an excellent motivator and really knows what he’s doing.”

Garretson emphasized the impact that Aguano made on the Chandler football community repeatedly and expects he will make an impact at ASU.

“I’m sure they’ll make decisions as quick as they can and after the season is over maybe Shaun does a great job and he becomes the next head coach. We want him to do great, that would be awesome. I’m sure the rest of the state of Arizona feels the same because he’s a good man and he’s in it for the right reasons. He’s been a positive influence in the state of Arizona for quite some time now.”


Jason Mohns, Saguaro 

“Shaun is an awesome guy. We have a great relationship and have stayed in contact.”

Coach Mohns joked that he was able to become great friends with Shaun because they never had to coach against eachother. 

“He has a great personality, he’s a great coach, he’s a really good relationship builder and he’s really well respected across the state and across the country.”

Mohns is hopeful that he will be able to make a mark on the success of Sun Devil football in this new role. 

“I mean what a killer opportunity for him too and early in the season so he has a chance to try to put his stamp on that thing. He gets the first crack at it, so it’ll be interesting to see.”


Michael Zdebski, Hamilton

Zdebski, like the other coaches highlighted his desire to coach for the right reason. He says he feels he is qualified for the job  and is an excellent relationship builder and feels that he will do well despite the current condition of the team. 

“I think he’s great for the job and he knows Arizona so that’s a great recruiting base right there.”


Effects On Recruiting In-State

Jason Mohns, Saguaro 

“I just feel like they need someone who really knows Arizona and really understands the landscape.”

Over the last few years, state 48 has gained a reputation as a top 5 high school football state. With specialized coaching and year-round football climate conditions, teams in Arizona have gained an elite national reputation.

“This is a powerhouse high school football state. There is so much talent here and it’s not just three or four schools, there are two dozen or more schools that are playing big-time football and have big-time players.”

Mohns says the person for the job could be an Arizona native with experience coaching or someone that has been recruiting in the state with a solid relationship with coaches. Regardless of who earns the title of head coach, Mohns believes recruiting will be tougher for ASU. He hopes that the Sun Devils will take a page from the Texas Tech tactic of hiring a new head coach in season in order to get a jumpstart on recruiting.

“Whether that’s retaining the intirem head coach or making a new hire, that’s going to be a huge priority for them to get something in place as soon as possible. That way that coach can start recruiting and start building relationships and make sure parents know who they’re sending their kid to play for.”


Jason Jewell, Brophy College Prep

Broncos head coach Jason Jewell said that while ASU has earned a reputation for not recruiting enough in-state that he understands their approach. He believes that ASU had always been focussed on finding the best players, regardless of where they played high school football. However, the issue now will be the programs ability to recruit under many new circumstances. 

“Of course this will shake up their recruiting with this instability and uncertainty. But I think that was already there with the NCAA investigation. I don’t believe they had many commitments as a result.”


Rick Garretson, Chandler 

“I don’t worry about those things too much but any time you can have opportunities for your kids, not only Chandler kids but anyone in-state it will maybe get some more guys that are local to play for ASU or UofA.”

Garretson believes that this change in coaching staff will likely spark more player-parent conversation for any high school football player that was strongly considering playing at ASU. 

“The college football world has changed so much over the last two years with the portal, you know with NIL and everything it does allow people to get better faster.”


Michael Zdebski, Hamilton

“Arizona high school football is a top five state in the country if you look at the number of teams we’ve had in the national rankings.”

Zdebski expressed his frustration with the Pac 12 Network and believes the lack of access to watch live games may play the biggest factor in ASU’s difficulty to recruit in-state. 

“The fact that our players can’t see our local teams on tv all the time and for the local area kids that can’t make it to a game and you don’t get to see them actually play, that’s a big thing to enhance your journey.”

Zdebski hopes that the recruiting department will scout kids early and seek out the top-tier talent in Arizona.