Arizona State Shamelessly Steals Strong SDSU Staff
Sun Devils poach Aztecs coaches
SDSU success causes them to lose assistant coaches
If you can’t beat them: raid them. This is Arizona State University Athletic Director Ray Anderson’s new attitude toward San Diego State University’s football program. Clearly, ASU did not take being manhandled by Rocky Long’s Aztecs in good cheer this past fall. On his way out Todd Graham might have given his replacement some retaliatory advice: Steal the talent.
In an effort to patch up its struggling football program, ASU has begun to treat San Diego State like its own private mesa superstore, on a shopping spree for winning coaches. Some might say ASU’s athletics has taken to SDSU like Florida retirees to a 4pm Golden Corral buffet.
Would it be surprising anymore if the Sun Devils changed their university colors to red and black?
So what exactly is going on? Let’s take a closer look.
Danny Gonzales, San Diego State’s defensive coordinator, was recently hired in the same position at Arizona State. He was hired for the position right before the Armed Forces Bowl. The Aztecs defense was a little off that day.
Gonzales, 40, had been on the SDSU staff as safeties coach since 2011. He was mentored by Long for more than two decades, dating to his days as a player and then assistant coach at New Mexico. Gonzales had interviewed at other schools the past couple of seasons, so the move is not a surprise. “He’s going to quadruple his salary and get to be a coordinator,” said Long, who agreed it’s important for coaches to do what is best for their families.
Tony White, SDSU cornerbacks coach and recruiting coordinator, is also leaving for Arizona State. The news was confirmed on January 4th.
The Aztecs had hoped to hang onto White, a UCLA graduate who has been on the SDSU staff since 2009, by enticing him with the defensive coordinator title and a salary bump. Ultimately, SDSU couldn’t match what ASU had to offer. White is expected to double his salary to more than $300,000.
Herman Edwards, the Sun Devils’ new head football coach, has a superb NFL coaching and player pedigree. He also played football for and graduated from San Diego State University.
Thank goodness Coach Long didn’t take the position.
“There’s a good chance we’re going to lose four or five coaches,” Long said. Not one to mince words, he added “That’s what happens when you win at a place you’re not supposed to.” San Diego State had back-to-back wins last season against the Pac-12’s ASU and Stanford, and another win against Cal during the season prior.
So what can Rocky Long and company do in response to Arizona State’s actions? Keep on winning. Win on September 15th when ASU visits SDSU. Most of San Diego State’s new recruiting was completed by the time these coaches were hired away, and there are many other very talented coaches in the ranks who will move up the ladder faster than expected.
As for Danny Gonzales and Tony White: when Power Five programs pay big bucks for plug-and-play coaching there is no grace period. And, what if SDSU beats ASU again?
The SDSU-ASU game on September 15th in San Diego will surely sizzle.