Turbulent Tuesday for ASU's coaching search

Since last week Sun Devil fans have been conditioned to expect the unexpected concerning ASU's head coaching search. Yet, the series of events that took place today took that sentiment to a whole different level. Let's recap today's events, and how they can impact ASU's process.

Arizona State's Vice President of Athletics, Lisa Love, traveled to New York City to interview Southern Mississippi head coach Larry Fedora and Houston head coach, Kevin Sumlin who in that order were the Sun Devils' top candidates. Sure enough, the tandem was also Texas A&M's front runners.

As I write this article it seems more than likely that both schools are about to lose out on their prime choices.

In the past, Fedora went on the record calling Texas A&M his "dream job" but now he is set to be announced as the head coach at North Carolina.

Sumlin is another candidate who never hid his affinity to the Aggies, but now appears more than likely to be named the head coach at Illinois, ironically one of ASU's out of conference opponents next season.

Baylor head coach Art Briles was scheduled to meet with ASU later this week in New York, but sources have indicated to us that the Briles, age 56, born and raised in Texas and never held a coaching job outside the Lone Star state, is extremely unlikely to become a viable candidate for any coaching job outside the state.

Cross one more name off the list.

And one name that earlier this morning appeared to be crossed off as well, mainly due to the extreme opposition of boosters and alumni, was SMU head coach June Jones. As fate would have it, he is now very much back in play with ASU. The reasoning for this turn of events is that the school desires to land the proverbial big name after striking out with the aforementioned candidates. To say that this move is unpopular among the Sun Devil nation is a gross understatement and one that has already been well documented.

So where does ASU go from here?

Even with Jones back in the picture, it seems highly unlikely (as much as this term can apply in these uncertain times) that ASU won't explore other options. Here are the names that we are hearing at this time:

Mark Helfrich – for several days now the Oregon offensive coordinator's name has been showing up on the ASU candidacy radar. As a former assistant here the familiarity factor is obvious, if not extremely appealing. Being one of the coaches responsible for the most explosive offenses in the Pac-12, and one of the nation's leading units, gives that more reason for Helfrich's name to gain consideration.

Troy Calhoun – Aside from Jones, the only current college head coach being considered by ASU at this time and a name that has been mentioned for several days as well. While some may scratch their head over the prospect of the Air Force head coach, running the option offense, being the head man in Tempe, one cannot forget that he has been an assistant in the NFL for four years and is more than capable of running a scheme that will suit ASU. Being an Air Force grad he could instill the discipline that this Sun Devil squad needs.

Paul Chryst – the newest name on ASU's candidate list, and one that ironically was thought of as the front runner for the Illinois position. Coached a couple of years with Oregon State so there is some degree of Pac-12 familiarity there, but has obviously gain notoriety by being the offensive coordinator at Wisconsin for the last seven years. Three years NFL experience only enhances an already impressive resume.

Devils Digest will continue and track ASU's coaching search and update you with the latest developments.


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