Let’s Speculate! Potential Arizona State head football coach candidates

Welcome to Let’s Speculate! on Coaches Database, where we go through programs that are or may soon be looking for a new head coach and speculate who they may hire next.

Today’s program is Arizona State, coached for the past 4+ seasons by Herm Edwards (fired on Sunday).

  • Bryan Harsin – Auburn head coach
    • Things are not going well for Harsin at Auburn, there’s no denying it. It seems likely that this will be his last year there, one way or another, and I think many in college football would chalk it up more to a lack a fit than anything else. Harsin’s agent will be fielding calls looking for better situations for the former Boise State head coach who was once considered one of the best in the game (69-19 over seven years, including five 10+ win seasons and a 2014 Fiesta Bowl win).
  • Deion Sanders – Jackson State head coach
    • The Herm hire was a huge swing that ultimately missed, but that’s no reason not to swing it again. Sanders did not get into coaching to stay at Jackson State and he has made a career shining under bright lights. ASU provides a great opportunity for Sanders to show he can win at a higher level, while the school can benefit from the media attention and star power that Primetime brings with him. Regardless of what happens on the field, this hire would inject some much-needed excitement into the program, and there’s no reason to think he can’t win there.
  • Kalani Sitake – BYU head coach
    • Arizona State – and a number of other programs across the country – would be thrilled to land a coach like Sitake. He’s coming off back-to-back 10+ win seasons at BYU and has consistently had the Cougars in the AP Poll over the last several years. With plenty of Pac-12 experience (Utah and Oregon State) and a track record of winning at the college level (currently 50-30 overall as a head coach), Sitake would be a great fit. But would he leave his alma mater for the ASU job?
  • Tom Herman – former Texas & Houston head coach
    • When Texas hired Herman in 2017 it was a no-brainer, as he was a year removed from a 13-win season at Houston and was 22-4 overall in his two season there. And by many measures his 4-year tenure was successful: 4-0 in bowl games, finished in the Top 25 three times (Top 10 once) and won 64% of his games there. That wasn’t good enough for Texas, but Herman is going to catch on somewhere else soon. Is Arizona State the right place for him to re-capture the magic from his Houston days? He’s coached largely in the South and Midwest but he did grow up in Southern California and should be able to recruit Pac-12 country.
  • Matt Rhule – Carolina Panthers head coach
    • Rhule is someone who should be high on ASU’s list but we’re not sure it would be mutual. Ray Anderson went the NFL route in 2018 and could look to so again, undoubtedly looking for someone with more recent experience this time around. Many would agree that the Nebraska job is the better of the two open so far, with many more surely to open by bowl season, so if Rhule does decide to go back to campus he will likely have his pick.
  • Jamey Chadwell – Coastal Carolina head coach
    • The 45-year old Chadwell is in his fifth year with the Chanticleers and is coming off back-to-back 11-win seasons. He runs a winning program with an exciting style of play that might be exactly what is needed in Tempe. The rub may be that he has never coached in a league bigger than the Sun Belt, but he’s already got the attention of power conference ADs across the country and it won’t be much longer before he makes the jump.
  • Derek Mason – Oklahoma State DC
    • Mason spent seven seasons as the head coach at Vanderbilt but was never able to turn the corner with the SEC program. The ASU job seems like it would be a better fit for Mason, a Phoenix-native and Northern Arizona alum who spent four years on staff at Stanford before getting the Vandy job in 2014. His local ties, football acumen and head coaching experience make him a very interesting candidate for the job, as long as folks can look past the 27-55 career record. Mason is in his first year at Oklahoma State after spending last season as the DC at Auburn.
  • Shaun Aguano – Arizona State interim head coach
    • He’s got the job right now and Aguano has been in the program for longer than most of the current ASU staffers. Admins (and fans) might want a clean break from the Herm Edwards era, but depending on how the next couple months go, Aguano may be able to get himself into the conversation.
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