The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Herm Edwards is out at Arizona State after a 1-2 start

Herm Edwards is out at Arizona State after nearly five full seasons with the Sun Devils. (Darryl Webb/AP)

Herm Edwards is no longer the football coach at Arizona State. In a statement Sunday, ASU Athletic Director Ray Anderson portrayed it as a “mutual agreement” on a parting of ways that represented “doing what is best” for the Sun Devils.

ASU fell to 1-2 with a 30-21 home loss to Eastern Michigan on Saturday that had some fans calling for the ouster of both Edwards and Anderson. Edwards, 68, was in his fifth season with the Sun Devils. The former NFL coach departs with a record of 26-20 and one bowl win in three postseason appearances.

“We have made the decision to make a change in the leadership of our football program, effective immediately,” Anderson said in a statement released by the school. “By mutual agreement, Coach Edwards and I have determined that he will relinquish duties as our head coach. At the core of this is doing what is best for our current team, staff and university. I understand the frustrations out there. We must do better and that starts with our decision today.”

Shortly after Saturday’s loss, in which the Eagles never trailed and became the first Mid-American Conference team to defeat a Pac-12 opponent in the regular season, ASU President Michael Crow said school officials would “have to decide where we’re going from here.”

“They showed up to play, and we didn’t,” Crow, who met with Edwards and Anderson on the field just after the final seconds ticked off, told the Arizona Republic. “That’s basically the outcome.”

Asked after the loss to EMU where the Sun Devils would find “confidence that you guys can turn this thing around,” Edwards replied: “Well, we’ve got to fix it. We’ve got to fix it with the players we have. That’s how you’ve got to fix it.

“No one else is coming in the building, and we’ve got to find a way to fix it. And that’s what I told the team: ‘Going forward, you’ve got to figure out who you are now, what you want to become, and where [you’re] going.’ So that’s the bottom line.”

Running backs coach Shaun Aguano reportedly will take over as interim coach. A pair of former NFL coaches brought in by Edwards as advisers, Marvin Lewis and Brian Billick, remained listed as Sun Devils staff members Sunday evening.

Edwards was a coach for two NFL teams, the New York Jets and the Kansas City Chiefs, with whom he notched a record of 54-74 over eight combined seasons. He made the playoffs three times in five seasons from 2001 to 2005 with the Jets but perhaps is best remembered for his “You play to win the game” tirade during a midweek news conference.

Syracuse, Appalachian State get wild wins (college football winners and losers)

After Edwards was fired by the Chiefs following the 2008 season, he spent nine years as an ESPN analyst. His hiring by ASU in 2017 was seen as an unexpected development, although Edwards had a long-standing connection with Anderson, who previously represented Edwards as an agent.

In addition to lackluster results on the field, Edwards’s stewardship of the program included alleged recruiting violations during a pandemic-related quiet period. The NCAA investigation into those allegations is ongoing.

After Saturday’s loss, Edwards was asked for a message to dissatisfied fans.

“We’re all disappointed. I’m probably more disappointed than anybody because I talked about it all week,” he said. “As much as I can do in my power to reach the team and say, ‘Man, you can’t fall into this trap.’ And we did.”