Hines Ward at a 2024 Super Bowl party. Feb 9, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Former wide receiver Hines Ward looks on during the Legends NFL Party. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Hines Ward has a new prominent coaching job. Ward, known for his 1994-97 college tenure at Georgia, his 1998-2011 NFL playing career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and several media, coaching, and executive jobs since then, has now landed as the new wide receivers coach at Arizona State under Kenny Dillingham. ESPN’s Pete Thamel broke that news Saturday:

Last season, Dillingham’s first as the Sun Devils’ head coach, Ra’Shaad Samples served as wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator. And Samples had signed a one-year extension that would take him through the 2025 season, but he left for a running backs coach and assistant head coach role at Oregon this week, replacing Carlos Locklyn (who left Oregon for Ohio State).

That led to Dillingham taking more of a hands-on role with wide receivers during spring practice this week. But he now has a veteran coach in Ward to help with that. It may take Ward some time to pick up the specifics of the Sun Devils’ offensive approach, but he certainly has a variety of experiences that should be useful for the Arizona State receivers.

Following his playing career with Georgia and the Steelers (which included four Pro Bowl nods and a selection as MVP of Super Bowl XL), Ward went into media work with NBC and then CNN. (He also even showed up as a zombie on The Walking Dead.) He then went into coaching and executive roles, serving as an offensive assistant with the Steelers in 2017, as the AAF’s head of football development in 2019, as an offensive intern with the New York Jets in 2019 and 2020, and as Florida Atlantic’s wide receivers coach in 2021. He then served as the head coach of the XFL’s San Antonio Brahmas last year, leading them to a 3-7 mark.

But Ward exited that role in December around the XFL-USFL merger, which cut the combined leagues’ teams in half.  Wade Phillips, who had been coaching the contracted Houston Roughnecks, moved over to the Brahmas to replace Ward. And now Ward’s landed at Arizona State. It will be interesting to see how he does there, and where his coaching career goes from here.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.