Much of the college coaching chatter has been about Tennessee’s ongoing search, but Arizona State’s hire of ESPN NFL analyst Herm Edwards is proving at least as entertaining.
It would be an odd enough hire in the first place, as Edwards hasn’t coached at any level since the Kansas City Chiefs fired him in 2009 and his college coaching experience is comprised of working as San Jose State’s DB coach from 1987-89 (it probably does help that Arizona State AD Ray Anderson used to be Edwards’ agent).
But things have gotten even more interesting since his hire was officially announced Sunday in one of the strangest press releases you’ll ever see:
Why does it sound like Herm Edwards and Arizona State are about to launch a pyramid scheme. pic.twitter.com/2Z0Xr49fwH
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) December 4, 2017
And things went on from there, with the revelation ASU appears to be keeping all the assistant coaches (so they paid Todd Graham $12 million to leave, but kept all his assistants and just installed Edwards as head coach?), and with Edwards’ actual introductory press conference Monday, which featured his current agent trying to hype him up:
Phil de Picciotto, Edwards' agent: “I have no doubt that he will put a lot of points on the scoreboard of life for everyone in this community.”
— Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) December 4, 2017
Well, Edwards will have to put an awful lot on the scoreboard of life to take the championship of life away from Butch Jones. Things stayed strange from there, with Edwards saying that he’ll be back on ESPN Wednesday (his last day is Friday) and that his TV work makes up for his lack of recent coaching experience:
“Some people have questioned, ‘Well, you haven’t coached in a long time, you haven’t been on the field.’ Well, turn the TV on Wednesday. I’ll be back in studio in Bristol, and I’ll be coaching football, by the way. That’s what I do. I coach football.”
He went on to talk about how he can’t play but can coach:
“You know, you don’t forget how to coach. They’re not bringing me here to play. I can’t play, although, I’ll tell you, I’ve got one hit left! I can’t play, but I got one left! I’m not here to play.”
There was a train metaphor, too:
Herm Edwards giving a motivational halftime speech, basically, right now. “I’m on the train… I’m the conductor… we’ve got a seat for ya.” pic.twitter.com/RrnO53QV3T
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) December 4, 2017
Edwards also had an interesting response to a question from a reporter from DevilsDigest.com (the 247 Sports site for Arizona State):
Here’s the initial exchange between @DevilsDigest and new Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards.
Edwards: “Devils Digest? I’m Catholic now, I’m Christian, watch out for them Devils. I’m just saying. We’re good brother, we’re good. I ain’t takin it personal.”
This is gold. pic.twitter.com/mvTSTUorIf
— Stu Jackson (@StuJTH) December 4, 2017
And he cited huddles as some sort of societal metaphor:
Herm Edwards: "We don't huddle anymore in our society. That's the problem with it, to be honest."
— David Ubben (@davidubben) December 4, 2017
“[One thing when] you don’t play, or you don’t coach, is the huddle. You miss the huddle. You miss the ability to walk in the room where collectively there are players that are from everywhere, every race, every religion, every color. It don’t matter, cause you’ve got a common goal.”
When asked a question about the Territorial Cup rivalry with the University of Arizona, Edwards brought up ESPN colleague Tedy Bruschi (who played at Arizona), then talked about playing in the Big Game against Stanford when he was at Cal (he played for the Bears in 1972 and 1974, then spent his senior year at San Diego State), and said pro football used to have those rivalries before free agency ruined it:
But hey, at least he’s passionate about football:
"Football ignites my soul." – Herm Edwards, @FootballASU head coach
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) December 4, 2017
Edwards will still be on ESPN this week, with Friday as his last day, and Graham is coaching Arizona State through their bowl game (the Sun Bowl against NC State, on Dec. 29). So the Edwards era isn’t fully kicking in yet, but we got our first glimpse of it Monday. And regardless of how well or not this works out on the field (the bet from this corner is probably not well), it’s going to be highly entertaining to watch.