ASU president lauds interim football coach despite USC loss – but he won’t halt search

Sun Devil football interim head coach Shaun Aguano was praised by ASU President Michael Crow after a competitive loss to USC. (File photo by Susan Wong/Cronkite News)

LOS ANGELES – Arizona State University President Michael Crow praised interim head coach Shaun Aguano and the Sun Devils football team despite Saturday’s loss to USC, but said the search for a permanent coach will continue.

“I was very excited about the game,” Crow said Tuesday in a visit to the ASU California Center in Los Angeles. “I thought coach Aguano did a fantastic job.“

But despite his praise, Crow gave no indication he will cut short the search for a permanent head coach to replace Herm Edwards, who resigned last month after an upset loss to Eastern Michigan University.

“We are still a ways from that,” Crow said in response to speculation on who the next head coach will be.

“Shaun has just been a coach for two games (in) less than two weeks. Everyone is on the table. Everyone will be looked at. We will find a great coach and move forward,” Crow said.

Aguano, who was one of Arizona’s most successful high-school coaches before joining ASU in 2019, was the squad’s running backs coach.

In his first week as interim head coach, Aguano saw his Sun Devil fall 34-13 to the University of Utah, which at the time was ranked 13th in the nation in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. On Saturday, he faced what was expected to be the toughest game of the season against sixth-ranked Southern California at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The Arizona State Sun Devils fell to the University of Southern California Trojans, 42-25, on Oct. 1 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Photo by Emeril Gordon/Cronkite News)

The Trojans beat the Sun Devils 42-25, but ASU beat the odds. USC had entered the match 26.5-point favorites, according to SI Sportsbook.

“I thought it was highly competitive,” Crow said. “I thought our players played very hard and the outcome was not known till moving towards the end of the game. It was a very competitive game and it was fun to watch.”

ASU football is going through an enormous program change with the departure of six coaches in the past year, some under a cloud of a NCAA investigation into recruiting infractions. The Sun Devils roster includes 43 new faces and a new starting quarterback, Emory Jones, who came to ASU from Florida by way of the transfer portal. He succeeds Jayden Daniels, who departed in the off-season.

With so much happening so quickly, ASU fans are worried about the future of the Sun Devil program, which is getting left in the dust by the competition in the Pac-12.

But Crow has remained optimistic. On Sept. 30, he took the long view on KTAR News “The Mike Broomhead Show.”

“The regrouping of the Pac-12 Conference, the re-engineering of our media contract – I’m very excited about what lies ahead,” he told Broomhead, adding later in the show, “What I’m saying is, we’re all-in on football and committed to making it work.”

ASU takes on No. 21 University of Washington this weekend at the Sun Devil Football Stadium in its last game before its bye week. The game marks the end of a tough first half schedule for the Sun Devils.

Brad Denny, ASU football reporter for the 3TV/CBS 5, said last week the schedule should ease up a bit for the Sun Devils after the bye week.

“The back half of the schedule is pretty manageable,” he said. “I think that if you’re able to get some momentum on offense in the next couple weeks, ASU can end on a more positive note.”

Shayan Moghangard shy-awn mo-gahn-guard (he/him/his)
Sports Reporter, Los Angeles

Shayan Moghangard expects to graduate in December 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in sports broadcast journalism. Moghangard has interned as an editor with Fox Sports Radio in California and works at Central Sound at Arizona PBS.

Emeril Gordon(she/her)
Sports Broadcast Producer, Los Angeles

Emeril Gordon expects to graduate in May 2024 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism.