ASU announces Kenny Dillingham as Sun Devils’ new head football coach, Aguano to be retained
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Arizona State University announced at a Sunday morning press conference at Sun Devil Stadium that graduate Kenny Dillingham is the Sun Devils’ new head football coach.
“It’s a comprehensive, changing, evolving landscape that we’re in,” Ray Anderson, vice president for university athletics, said. “The future is name, image, and likeness. You have the NCA governance, student athlete mental health and awareness, college football expansion, social media influence, social justice awareness...it’s in our view the new era head coach must be prepared to deal and embrace all of these challenges.”
Anderson said he believes Dillingham has what it takes to bring ASU into the next era of college football. “This didn’t just start 3 or 4 week ago. This process of looking ahead started months ago,” he said. He added that many candidates were interviewed but the decision to bring Dillingham on as head football coach was a unanimous decision. “This new head coach had to be in tune with and relatable to the new era student athlete--energetic, flexible, adaptable, collaborative, innovative, great partner, great innovator, great listener, experiences listening and learning from others, strong and passionate about this place,” Anderson said. “The multitude of accomplishments and successes that Kenny Dillingham brought to the table was undeniable.”
Dillingham took to the microphone tearfully saying he understood how special it is to be welcomed back to ASU. “I’m pretty emotional, it’s who I am. I am who I am, the same person every day and I’m fired up to be here and be a Sun Devil,” he said. “The leadership from top to bottom is in line. We need this entire Valley to come together. You wanna win at the highest level? We need everyone in this room to get involved.”
Dillingham said that Shaun Aguano will be retained on staff for the Sun Devils. “I couldn’t be happier--one of the first people I saw when I got here was Coach Aguano,” he said. “When you think about anything in life, it comes into time. Time decides the matter of importance. I’m gonna spend time building relationships with people in the Valley. Our staff is gonna be people who build relationships in the Valley.”
He encouraged those attending the presser to go all in. “This place can be special and it is special. We’re gonna hire people who believe in it...and we’re gonna maximize every drop we can get out of it. This is my dream job,” Dillingham said. He said he believes that the college landscape is changing.
During the press conference, Sun Angel Collective announced that Dillingham and his team would be receiving a donation of $1 million. The collective was formed to support student-athletes through the use of their name, image, and likeness. It’s a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity that gets donations from businesses, boosters, and non-profits. Jeff Burg, President of AlphaTrust Advisors, is the president of the organization.
Dillingham was presented with an ASU jersey with the number “42″ on it in honor of Pat Tillman, veteran and former NFL star. Sewn into the jersey itself was a message that read, “Somewhere inside we hear a voice and it leads us into the direction of the person we wish to become and it’s up to us if we’re to follow,” Dillingham read aloud.
He said the following in a statement prior to the press conference:
Dillingham is a Scottsdale local and graduated ASU in 2012. He was hired by then-offensive coordinator Mike Norvell to be an offensive staffer for the Sun Devils in 2013. He also worked as an assistant at Memphis, Florida State, and Auburn. Dillingham will be leaving his position as Oregon’s offensive coordinator, a position he’s had since late 2021. He will be the youngest Power 5 coach in the U.S. and is the 6th ASU alumni hired to coach a Sun Devils’ program. He will not be returning to Oregon for their bowl game.
Ray Anderson, vice president for university athletics, released the following statement on social media prior to the conference:
The announcement came early Sunday morning. Arizona State fired football coach Herm Edwards after a home loss against East Michigan and an investigation. After Edwards was released from his duties, Shaun Aguano had been serving the team as interim coach. The NCAA is still investigating ASU’s football program after various alleged violations that happened during the 2020 offseason.
The Devils are still gunning for an opportunity to dominate the field in the southwest regions with USC and UCLA headed toward the Big Ten.
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