Norvell leaving ASU for Memphis head job

Arizona State coach Todd Graham will have to replace his offensive coordinator after Mike Norvell elected to take the head coaching job at Memphis

Following a four-year stint as Arizona State's offensive coordinator, Mike Norvell has accepted the head coaching position at Memphis. 

Norvell, 34, is set to become the youngest FBS head coach in the country. Memphis is expected to announce the hire at a Friday press conference scheduled for 4:30 locally. 

News of Norvell's hire at Memphis was first reported by Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated.

Norvell met with ASU four-star quarterback commit and Scout300 recruit Dillon Sterling-Cole in Houston on Wednesday evening for an in-home visit. A day later, he traveled to Memphis, which is replacing Justin Fuente following his departure to take the head coaching job at Virginia Tech. 

According to a source with direct knowledge, Norvell was offered the Memphis job and accepted it on Thursday, the same day he first interviewed for the position. 

ASU was in the Top-20 nationally in scoring offense in each of Norvell's first three seasons as offensive coordinator, averaging between 36.3 and 38.5 points per game. This season, ASU dropped to No. 30 nationally in part due to red zone success, and averaged 33.9 points per game. 

The Sun Devils have experienced rare success in their first four seasons under Todd Graham. It's the first time any ASU coach has gone to bowl games in his first four seasons with the program, and ASU had its first back-to-back 10 win seasons in 2013-14 since the early 1970s under legendary Frank Kush. 

Norvell was unquestionably a big part of that success. He's also considered to be one of the best recruiters on the ASU staff. 

All of this led to steady increases in Norvell's ASU compensation, which is currently $900,000, tops among offensive assistant coaches in the Pac-12 and among the highest in the nation. 

Sterling-Cole did not immediately comment on the news of Norvell's departure other than to say he's gathering more information before drawing any conclusions. 

More than a half dozen other ASU commits, including locals Chase Lucas, N'Keal Harry and Marshal Nathe, and out of state targets Kyle Williams, Jared Bubak, Jeremy Smith, Tre Turner and Cohl Cabral have reiterated they remain firmly committed to ASU. 

In addition to losing his offensive coordinator, Graham also will be forced to replace one of his best and most prolific recruiters. Norvell has actively recruited Houston and Louisiana as well as in-state, and all of ASU's quarterback targets. 

In the wake of Norvell's departure, there's also a possibility Norvell could take one or more of ASU's other assistant coaches or graduate assistants with him to Memphis in higher profile roles. ASU tight ends coach Chip Long would appear to be one likely candidate in a possible offensive coordinator role. 

Sun Devil Source Top Stories