Devils Den Blog

Coaching Staff Changes


Coaching staff changes are common across college football. This off-season rumors circulated around the Arizona State coaching staff which is to be expected after back-to-back winning seasons. Mike Norvell reportedly interviewed for the Arkansas State head coaching position. Chip Long reportedly declined the Offensive Coordinator position at Western Kentucky this off-season. One assistant coaching position did change as Keith Patterson left West Virginia and joined the Arizona State coaching staff, replacing Joe Lorig who has moved on to Utah State.

Most thought Todd Graham would keep new hires within the Graham family of coaches, and he did just that with the hiring of Patterson. Graham and Patterson played together at East Central University. They started coaching together at Allen High School in Texas. Next, Patterson was an assistant coach on Graham’s coaching staff at Tulsa and Pittsburgh. Now, Patterson joins the Todd Graham Arizona State coaching staff as co-Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach.

Here is Todd Graham’s current coaching staff for 2014:

Mike Norvell  –  Deputy Head Coach / Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks Coach
Chris Thomsen  –  Assistant Head Coach, Offensive Line
DelVaughn Alexander  –  Assistant Coach, Wide Receivers / Offensive Passing Game Coordinator
Chip Long  –  Assistant Coach, Tight Ends / Offensive Special Teams / Recruiting Coordinator
Bo Graham  –  Assistant Coach, Running Backs

Keith Patterson  –  Co-Defensive Coordinator, Linebackers / Defensive Special Teams
Paul Randolph  –  Senior Associate Head Coach, Defensive Ends
Chris Ball  –  Co-Defensive Coordinator, Secondary / Defensive Passing Game Coordinator
Jackie Shipp  –  Assistant Coach, Defensive Line

With Patterson taking over the linebackers, Randolph moves to defensive ends. Recall that Randolph coached the defensive line in 2012 before Shipp joined the program. Instead of a special teams coach, Long will handle offensive special teams while Patterson handles defensive special teams. Head Coach Graham spends a lot of time with the defense, so each side of the football has five minds involved in game planning. Last off-season, it was Ron West and Bob Connelly who left Tempe and Thomsen and Shipp who joined the Sun Devil coaching staff.

Even though the coaching staff appears complete, in reality, it is far from it. Most of the young graduate assistants have left the program.

Additionally, Trent Figg has left for Southern Arkansas University to be their Defensive Backs/Special Teams Coach. This leaves only offensive graduate assistant coach Aaron Pflugrad in Tempe from the 2013 season. It appears there are three graduate assistant positions along with the on-campus recruiting coordinator position to be filled for 2014.

Losing Graduate Assistants is common. This is a normal cycle in college football and a way for new coaching talent to make their hay.  New coaches pop up for a season or two and then either get promoted to full assistants or move on to become assistants for other schools. However, it is the continuity with the assistant coaches, especially those on the recruiting trail, which is key to major program success. The process for Arizona State to keep Norvell and Long from leaving will prove most important for any 2014 season success.


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