Todd Graham, perpetual job-hopper, paid Pitt seven figures to bolt for Arizona State after just one season. According to Paul Ziese of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the current Sun Devils head coach ponied up $1 million in order to break his contract with the Panthers.
Graham is no stranger to short stays. He spent a year at Rice, signed an extension and then exited days later to take the Tulsa job.
Chad Morris and Gus Malzahn both served under him as offensive coordinators in Oklahoma and Graham parlayed that success into a BCS-level gig in the Big East.
Pitt finished 6-6 in 2011 and shockingly, Arizona State offered him respite.
Though his hire generated little buzz outside of Tempe, Graham did manage to complete a strong recruiting finish. Ranked fourth among coaches at new locales by Sports Illustrated, Ben Glicksman offered this:
Arizona State’s Todd Graham: B+. How’s this for a stunner? Not only did Graham finagle his way out of Pittsburgh following one disappointing 6-6 season, but he also managed to attract some of the nation’s premier recruits to join him in Tempe. Saguaro, Ariz., athlete D.J. Foster, Rivals’ No. 71 recruit, accumulated 3,058 rushing yards and 60 touchdowns as a senior, while Marion Grice, Rivals’ top-ranked JUCO running back out of Blinn College (Cam Newton’s former school), earned NJCAA All-America honors. Both should serve as key cogs in the Sun Devils’ soon-to-be high-octane attack.
Foster is an especially exciting addition for the Sun Devils as he was pursued by USC, Cal, Michigan, Notre Dame, Arkansas, Washington and in-state rival Arizona. Grice had long been a Texas A&M commit but he wasn’t likely to qualify and the benefit was Arizona State’s.
The offensive firepower on Pac 12 sidelines means those late Saturday games are in danger of becoming a must-watch. Mike Leach, Steve Sarkisian, Chip Kelly, Lane Kiffin, Rich Rodriguez…and Todd Graham.
One of those look a little out of place?
No one is pegging the Sun Devils for Pac 12 South supremacy, not with national title contender Southern Cal in the same division.
But perhaps, at least in year one, Todd Graham is just happy to be there.
It might have cost him a million dollars and there’s no guarantee he’ll be around Tempe in year two so let’s just enjoy the tenure while it lasts.