Black Saturday needs to happen at Arizona State

Arizona Sports News online

Black Friday is coming this week. The next day, housecleaning should commence in Tempe. 

As the NCAA continues to drag its feet(intentionally?) on the findings/penalties on the downtrodden Arizona State football program, school leadership should do most everyone a favor and clear the decks twenty-four hours after the season comes to an end in Tucson. Press reset. 

Black Saturday needs to happen. 

“Pitchforks Up” and “Go Devils” isn’t going to wish away the inevitable bottoming out. It’s like pretending there was no iceberg coming at the Titanic.  No dodging the NCAA.  I was talking with several longtime boosters, sponsors, and former Sun Devil football players at Friday’s Legends Lunch(a very nice event). To say that there’s little to no faith in the current athletic leadership would be the understatement of the year.  This isn’t about simply winning and losing football games or the drawn-out NCAA investigation. It’s much deeper than that. 

Perhaps the search firm hired this past week is looking for an athletic director rather than a head coach? How often does the NCAA need to interview/re-interview people about what happened on and off campus during the COVID period when an almost new football staff is currently in place? 

On the head coaching front,  Shaun Aguano has made many right moves over the last two months, except winning games. Would the program be making a mistake in giving him the job?  How many games has Oregon’s Kenny Dillingham won as a head coach?(zero) Does Dillingham have far, far, superior resources and infrastructure at the University of Oregon that have enabled him to succeed in one season at Eugene as an offensive coordinator? Of course, he has. Call Uncle Phil and it’s handled. Does anyone know for sure that he would be the one to finally get this turned around? 

Steve Patterson, Lisa Love, Gene Smith, Kevin White, and Dr. Charles Harris have all come and gone from the athletic directors’ office since I came to town. Ray has done some very good things when it comes to Olympic Sports. I wrote a column, “In Ray I Trust”, when he hired Edwards. The trust was broken when the smoke built around the football program even before the scandal hit. It wasn’t just the all-out arrogance against recruiting the highest-end Arizona high school talent that had become commonplace, but it was the “we’ve got it all figured out, and none of you do” mentality.

Ray’s time has run its course. Get on with the buyout, and let’s all move along. Nothing lasts forever. 

However,  I am counting on the President of the University to move smartly and swiftly. He’s on the case right? Since Dr. Crow took over in 2002, the “New American University” has gone through Dirk Koetter, Dennis Erickson, June Jones(for about thirty minutes), Todd Graham, and Herm Edwards as head football coaches. Now coming into the final week of the season, Aguano is twisting with the interim tag. So, about every four years, the head coach gets swapped out. 

No matter who the next football coach is, things have to change significantly at the very top so this program doesn’t continue to resemble Indiana or Purdue most every fall since the 97 Rose Bowl team. It’s not even been two years since 70-7 happened for the Sun Devils in Tucson. Which program is in better shape from top to bottom, today? 

Black Saturday needs to happen…