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Arizona State Football: Coaching Candidates to Replace Herm Edwards

Herm Edwards, Arizona State Sun Devils Football

Herm Edwards is out as the head coach at Arizona State. The news of Edwards' departure comes one day after the Sun Devils were upset at home by Eastern Michigan 30-21 on Saturday night. According to a statement from the school, Edwards will "relinquish duties" as part of a mutual agreement with athletic director Ray Anderson. Running backs coach Shaun Aguano will work as the team's interim coach for the remainder of 2022. 

Who could replace Edwards at Arizona State? Here are some names to watch:

Arizona State Football: Coaching Candidates to Replace Herm Edwards

Blake Anderson, Head Coach, Utah State
Anderson was a consistent winner at Arkansas State, going 51-37 (2014-20) and helped Utah State engineer a massive turnaround last fall. The Aggies went 1-5 in '20 but improved to 11-3 and won the Mountain West in Anderson's debut. He also has experience working at a Power 5 program after a stint as offensive coordinator at North Carolina (2012-13).

Brent Brennan, Head Coach, San Jose State
Brennan's overall mark at San Jose State sits at 21-38, but the record is a little deceiving. The Spartans went 3-22 in his first two years and have improved significantly since '19. After a 5-7 mark that season, San Jose State went 7-1 and won the Mountain West in '20. The Spartans just missed a bowl (5-7) last fall but seem to be on track for an improved '22. He also worked in the Pac-12 as an assistant at Washington (1999), Arizona (2000) and Oregon State (2011-16).

Troy Calhoun, Head Coach, Air Force
Calhoun played at Air Force and has the program rolling in the Mountain West, so there's no guarantee he would want to leave his alma mater. However, Arizona State (or other Power 5 jobs with openings) should at least inquire about his interest. Calhoun is 113-76 overall in Colorado Springs and has guided the program to four seasons of at least 10 wins.

Jamey Chadwell, Head Coach, Coastal Carolina
Chadwell's name is likely to pop up for every Power 5 opening this year. The Chanticleers are 33-19 with Chadwell at the helm (2017 and '19-22) and have recorded a 25-3 mark since '20. He also has previous experience as the head coach from stints at Charleston Southern, Delta State and North Greenville. Chadwell does not have any experience in the Pac-12.

Kenny Dillingham, Offensive Coordinator, Oregon
Dillingham is a coach on the rise and a native of Arizona. He has no experience as a head coach but previously worked as a graduate assistant in Tempe from 2014-15 and has garnered valuable experience as an assistant at Memphis, Auburn, Florida State, and now at Oregon as the offensive coordinator. 

Josh Gattis, Offensive Coordinator, Miami
It's only a matter of time before Gattis is hired as a Power 5 head coach. The former Wake Forest defensive back has been on a fast rise through the assistant ranks, working at Western Michigan (2011), Vanderbilt (2012-13), Penn State (2014-17), and Alabama (2018) before a stint at Michigan (2019-21). Gattis left Ann Arbor for Miami this offseason and is tasked with helping quarterback Tyler Van Dyke continue his development as one of the top passers in the nation. 

Alex Grinch, Defensive Coordinator, USC
Grinch is a rising star on the defensive side and is likely to get a chance to run his own program in the near future. The Ohio native has experience in the Pac-12 from his current stint at USC and a previous stop at Washington State (2015-17). Grinch also spent a year at Ohio State ('18) and three seasons at Oklahoma (2019-21). 

Jeff Grimes, Offensive Coordinator, Baylor
Grimes previously worked at Arizona State from 2001-03 as the program's offensive line coach and has gained a wealth of experience from other stints at Boise State (2000), BYU (2004-06 and '18-20), Colorado (2007-08), Auburn (2009-12), Virginia Tech (2013), and LSU (2014-17). Grimes got his first chance to be a play-caller at BYU in '18, and after thriving in that role for three years, he was hired at Baylor in the offensive coordinator role in '21. The Bears showed marked improvement on offense last year, averaging 6.3 yards per play (up from 4.4 in '20). Grimes does not have any experience as a head coach.

Bryan Harsin, Head Coach, Auburn
If Harsin doesn't return to Auburn next year (and it would be a surprise if he did), would he be interested in resurfacing out west? The Idaho native went 69-19 at Boise State from 2014-20 and is 8-8 as the head coach at Auburn. Harsin wasn't a great fit on the Plains but would be a good fit in the Pac-12.

Jay Hill, Head Coach, Weber State
Hill might be a longshot here, but he's got Pac-12 experience as an on-field assistant at Utah (2005-13) and is 61-36 as the head coach at Weber State. The Wildcats have earned playoff bids in four out of the last five seasons at the FCS level and scored a massive upset of Utah State in Week 2 this year. 

Jeff Lebby, Offensive Coordinator, Oklahoma
If Arizona State chooses to go the coordinator route, Lebby would figure to be a name atop its list. The Texas native has worked as an assistant at UCF, Baylor, Ole Miss, and now Oklahoma. He has emerged as one of the top offensive minds in college football. Lebby does not have any experience as a head coach. 

Sean Lewis, Head Coach, Kent State
Lewis' wide-open offense and entertaining style of play would be a good fit in the Pac-12. The Wisconsin native doesn't have any experience out west, but he's one of the youngest head coaches (36) and a rising star in the MAC. Dino Babers' protege went 2-10 in his debut (2018). However, the Golden Flashes - one of the MAC's toughest jobs - are 18-16 over the last three years and won the East Division in '21.

Brian Lindgren, Offensive Coordinator, Oregon State
Lindgren has been instrumental in helping coach Jonathan Smith turn things around in Corvallis, and he's got experience in the state of Arizona after a stint as an assistant at Northern Arizona (2006-11). The Washington native has also worked at San Jose State and Colorado before becoming the play-caller in Corvallis (2018). 

Todd Monken, Offensive Coordinator, Georgia
Monken is one of college football's top offensive coordinators at Georgia and has previous experience as a head coach from a stint at Southern Miss (2013-15). After a 1-11 mark in his debut, the Golden Eagles showed marked improvement the next two years, leading to a 9-5 record in '15. Monken has a wealth of experience from stops as an assistant at Louisiana Tech, Oklahoma State, LSU, and in the NFL with the Jaguars, Browns and Buccaneers. 

Bill O'Brien, Offensive Coordinator, Alabama
Could O'Brien look to return the head-coaching ranks after the 2022 season? O'Brien directs one of the top offenses in college football at Alabama and has previous experience as a head coach at Penn State (15-9 from 2012-13) and in the NFL with the Texans (52-48 from 2014-20. 

Matt Rhule, Head Coach, Carolina Panthers
Rhule entered the 2022 NFL season on the hot seat and an 0-2 start isn't doing anything to reduce the pressure in Carolina. Although his record in the NFL sits at 10-25, Rhule went 28-23 at Temple (2013-16) and 19-20 at Baylor (2017-19). After a 1-11 mark in his debut in Waco, the Bears went 18-9 over the final two seasons.

Troy Taylor, Head Coach, Sacramento State
Taylor checks off a lot of boxes in this search. He's a California native, has spent his coaching career on the west coast, and has Pac-12 experience as an assistant at California and Utah (2017-18). Taylor was also a successful head coach at Folsom High School in California and has compiled a 20-7 mark as the head coach at Sacramento State since '19.

A Longshot but Worth a Phone Call?

Jeff Traylor, Head Coach, UTSA
Traylor is a Texas native and has spent most of his career in the state, so a move to Arizona (although not far) is probably far-fetched. However, if you are Arizona State, Traylor is worth a phone call. He's 20-9 in two years at UTSA and guided the program to a Conference USA title in '21.

Former Head Coaches Potentially Looking for a Job

Bronco Mendenhall, Former Virginia Coach
Mendenhall stepped down at the end of the 2021 season at Virginia. Could he be lured back to the sidelines? He went 99-43 at BYU from 2005-15 and recorded a 36-38 mark at Virginia from 2016-21. Although Mendenhall had a losing mark with the Cavaliers, 10 of those defeats came in his first year and he guided the team to four bowl bids in the last five seasons. Considering the rebuilding effort likely needed in Tempe, Mendenhall's experience in turning around Virginia could be valuable.

Tom Herman, Former Texas Head Coach
Herman currently works as an analyst for CBS Sports, but Arizona State should inquire about a potential return to the sidelines. Although his tenure ended in a firing at Texas, Herman still went 32-18 over four seasons. Also, he previously went 22-4 at Houston from 2015-16.

Dan Mullen, Former Florida Head Coach
Mullen’s tenure at Florida ended with a 5-6 disaster, but he’s likely to get another shot at an FBS program in the near future. He went 69-46 at Mississippi State from 2009-17 and accumulated a 34-15 mark at Florida from 2018-21. Most of Mullen's experience is on the east coast or in the South, but he did spend two seasons at Utah when it was in the Mountain West.