Edwards, 63, has been enjoying a career in broadcasting with ESPN for the better part of the past decade. This was certainly a new head coaching name among inside the annual carousel, but Edwards has connections to decision makers at Arizona State.
Edwards takes over a program that failed to take the next step towards national relevance under the recently fired Todd Graham.
Edwards last coached for college in 1989 as a defensive backs coach for San Jose State. The wording here, however, is unique, as Arizona State states "the department's New Leadership Model will be similar to an National Football League approach using a general manager structure".
"Our goal for this football program is to reach unprecedented heights, and therefore we need to find a way to operate more innovatively and efficiently than we have in the past", athletic director Ray Anderson said in a statement. This structure will allow the department to form a multi-layered method to the talent evaluation and recruiting processes, increase its emphasis on both student-athlete and coach development and retention, and provide a boost in resource allocation and generation. He also coached the New York Jets from 2001 to 2005 before going to Kansas City in 2006.
The Sun Devils fired coach Todd Graham after six seasons on November 26 and wanted to move quickly with the early-signing period for high school recruits starting December 20. He led the Sun Devils to 10 wins in his second and third seasons in Tempe, but finished one game below.500 in 2015 and 2016 before leading to Arizona State to a 7-5 regular season record this year.
"I don't judge by emotion, I judge by body of work", Anderson said in announcing the decision to cut ties with Graham, who still had $12 million remaining on his contract. This the same Edwards who hasn't coached at any level in almost a decade and not in college sine the 1980s.