For Pete's Sake

Herm Edwards in line to be Arizona State’s coach, and many think it’s a bad idea

Former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards.
Former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards.

When Herm Edwards walked off the field at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati on Dec. 28, 2008, he had just seen the Chiefs lose 16-6 to the Bengals and finish the season with a 2-14 record.

It was the last time Edwards was on the sideline as a coach, but he may be ditching his current work for ESPN to take over at Arizona State. According to 24-7 Sports, if Arizona State president Michael Crow signs off on the deal, Edwards will be the next Sun Devils coach, replacing Todd Graham, who led the team to a 7-5 record.

Edwards last worked at the college level when he coached defensive backs at San Jose State from 1987-89.

Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports wrote that Arizona State’s decision doesn’t make sense.

The overwhelming feeling among athletic administrators, between chuckles, is that this hire will turn into a Lovie Smith Sequel — an out-of-touch NFL coach returning to college for one last pay bump before retirement. And potentially paying more than $11 million as a parting gift to Graham to bring in Edwards is the topper.

“It’ll be a learning curve for a guy who has never been an X’s and O’s specialist,” said a veteran NFL executive familiar with Edwards. “There’s some real danger in terms of playing against the schools in that conference that know what they’re doing. It’s one thing to have a good motivational speaker, it’s another thing to have a good football coach.”

Former Arizona State quarterback Jake Plummer was a bit more positive.

“Guy has a ton of energy,” Plummer said on the Brad Cesmat Show. “He’s a real stand-up dude who has a lot of morals and convictions that I think these young kids need. They need somebody who will keep them in line with all of these distractions they have. Whoever they bring in, you know, I’m going to be a big supporter of.”

However, Bill Connelly of SB Nation tweeted: “Absolutely any hire can work out, and any hire can fail. I will be absolutely floored if Herm Edwards works out at Arizona State (assuming rumors are true). Absolutely floored.”

Here is what Stewart Mandel of The Athletic tweeted:

“Arizona State AD Ray Anderson used to be an NFL agent.

Herm Edwards was one of his clients.

What could go wrong?”

Greg Moore of the Arizona Republic thinks Edwards can help more Sun Devils players reach the NFL. Here is what Moore, a former Kansas City Star employee, wrote:

It’s been my contention that Edwards would provide the same type of discipline that outgoing coach Todd Graham became known for and that Edwards will be able to help recruits develop into professionals in a way that Graham couldn’t.

Last season, no ASU players were drafted until kicker Zane Gonzalez went to the Browns in the seventh round.

Edwards can leverage his experience on the sideline with the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs.

Ryan Phillips of The Big Lead said hiring Edwards is a big gamble. He wrote:

I like Edwards and find him entertaining and engaging on television. I believe he’d be a good mentor for high school and college-age kids. That said, he’s 63, hasn’t coached in college in nearly 30 years and was last seen on a football field before the Kansas City Chiefs fired him in 2008.

On to of that, when he was in the NFL, it’s not like Edwards was winning games. He finished his career with a regular season record of 54-74. What about him screams “next great college coach”?

Sun Devils fans were not impressed, and many let it be known on Twitter. Here is a sample:

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff