ASU hires Rob Likens to replace Jay Norvell as wide receivers coach

Kansas offensive coordinator Rob Likens is leaving the Jayhawks' program to replace Jay Norvell as ASU's wide receivers' coach.

With just three weeks remaining under the conclusion of the recruiting dead period, Arizona State needed to act quickly to replace departed wide receivers' coach Jay Norvell.

On Tuesday, Arizona State found its man, as the Sun Devils announced the hire of Kansas offensive coordinator Rob Likens as the program's new wide receivers' coach and passing game coordinator.

"Rob brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our staff," ASU head coach Todd Graham said. "He will work with Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Chip Lindsey with the coordination of our passing game. Rob has developed a long list of wide receivers in his career, seven of which are currently in the NFL and I look forward to him working with our special group. I'm excited about his Pac-12 Conference experience at Cal and his familiarity with the league."

Likens boasts 25 years of coaching experience and most recently served as the Jayhawks' offensive coordinator, where he worked under former Graham assistant, Kansas head coach David Beaty.

Likens replaces Norvell, who left the Sun Devils' program to become the head coach at the University of Nevada. 

Likens began his coaching career at North Alabama, where he served as ASU offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey's position coach in 1993.

"Rob has an unmatched passion and enthusiasm for coaching and mentoring young men that is unparalleled," Lindsey said. "He brings an energy to our coaching staff, both on the field and in recruiting. His track record in developing receivers is very impressive. We have collaborated over the years on many occasions."

Likens spent six seasons at North Alabama before moving on to Temple, where he coached wide receivers from 1998-2003. 

After various coaching stops in the mid 2000s, Likens joined Sonny Dykes' staff at Louisiana Tech as the program's wide receivers' coach in 2010.

Likens worked under Dykes for five seasons, as he spent three years with Louisiana Tech before following Dykes to Cal where he coached outside wide receivers in 2013 and added passing game coordinator duties to his title in 2014. 

Seven of Likens' former wide receivers currently play in the NFL, including Chris Harper, Kenny Lawler and Bryce Treggs, all of whom played under Likens during his two seasons coaching at Cal. 

"When I was at Cal, ASU was a school that I viewed as a place I would like to work someday," Likens said. "It's an elite program with great people, brand new facilities and it's all part of a world-class university. I will have the opportunity to work with Chip (Lindsey), whom I believe is one of the brightest young offensive coaches in the nation. And when I met with coach Graham and heard his vision for the program and especially for the development of young men I was completely on board. I can't wait to get there to begin recruiting and work with the players."

Likens has extensive experience working in Air Raid systems, as his experience under Dykes at Louisiana Tech and Cal helped both programs reach new offensive heights. In 2012, Likens coached a wide receiver corps led by second-team AP All-American Quinton Patton that contributed to the fifth-best scoring offense in FBS history, as Louisiana Tech averaged more than 51 points per game. In 2014, Harper, Lawler and Treggs were all Biletnikoff Award candidates as the Bears ranked sixth in the country with an average of 346.0 passing yards per game. 

After being hired by Beaty to coordinate Kansas' offense in 2015, Likens had his play-calling duties stripped away from him following his first season with the Jayhawks' program.

Even though Beaty took over as the program's play-caller, Likens kept his title as offensive coordinator during the 2016 season. According to The Wichita Eagle, Likens and Beaty switched roles at practice as Likens oversaw offensive drills while Beaty worked more closely with the program's quarterbacks.  

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