A key figure in Todd Graham’s high-octane and high-scoring attack, Mike Norvell enters his fourth season directing the Sun Devil offense.
Under the supervision of Norvell, who was promoted to deputy head coach in December 2013, the Sun Devil offense is ranked second in the Pac-12 and tied for seventh in the nation at 38.38 points per game over the last three seasons.
In 2014, the Sun Devils' offense ranked 16th in the nation in scoring (37 points per game) and 13th in touchdown passes (34). The offense finished with 5,750 total yards, including 2,194 on the ground and 3,556 through the air. Quarterback Taylor Kelly, who was named the Pac-12 Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year and ASU’s recipient of the Pac-12 Tom Hansen Medal of Honor (awarded annually to each member institution’s outstanding senior male and female student-athlete based on the exhibition of the greatest combination of performance and achievement in scholarship, athletics and leadership), concluded his time in the Maroon and Gold third in both career passing yards and touchdowns.
Norvell’s guidance was also instrumental in the development of Mike Bercovici, who was thrust into the starter’s role when Kelly was injured in the third game of the 2014 season. In three starts Bercovici led ASU to s 2-1 record while throwing for 1,243 yards and nine touchdowns (only two interceptions) and completing 63 percent of his passes.
The 2013 Sun Devil offense was ranked 10th nationally in scoring, averaging 39.7 points per game. Norvell mentored Kelly, who threw for 28 touchdowns. Combined with his 29 touchdown tosses in 2012, Kelly’s 57 scoring strikes in 2012-13 were the most for any Sun Devil quarterback in a two-season span. In addition, Kelly’s 3,635 passing yards in 2013 were the third-most in a single season.
“In addition to his offensive prowess, coach Norvell is one of the greatest teachers I’ve ever worked with,” ASU head coach Todd Graham said when Norvell’s promotion was announced. “Character, discipline and work ethic are all ideals he not only stresses, but holds himself to as well. His ability to connect and motivate young people is unparalleled, and I’m looking forward to coaching with him for many years to come.”
Norvell led a balanced and explosive offense in his first year with ASU as he helped the Sun Devils set school marks at the quarterback, running back and tight end positions.
The 2012 Sun Devils became the 14th team in NCAA FBS bowl history to score 60+ points in a bowl game (62 against Navy in Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl).
Of the 464.5 total yards per game ASU averaged in 2012, 205.5 came on the ground, representing the second-best mark in the previous 25 seasons (since 1988).
Nowhere was Norvell's influence felt more than at the quarterback position where Kelly, in his first season as ASU’s starting signal-caller, set the school record for completion percentage (67.1) and threw for the second-most touchdown passes (29) in school history. Combined with the talents of running back Marion Grice – scored the third-most touchdowns (19) in school history – and tight end Chris Coyle – 57 receptions were the most ever by an ASU tight end – Norvell's quick-strike offense produced 58 scoring drives of three minutes or less in 2012.
Norvell has worked with Coach Graham for the past eight seasons at Tulsa, Pitt and now ASU. He started as an offensive graduate assistant and receivers coach with Tulsa and soon transitioned to passing game coordinator and receivers coach before adding director of recruiting to his title in 2010. At Pitt in 2011, Norvell was the co-offensive coordinator, wide receivers coach and director of recruiting.
While with Tulsa, the Golden Hurricane had five 1,000-yard receivers emerge under Norvell's tutelage. His most accomplished pupil was All-America receiver Damaris Johnson, who led the country in all-purpose yards for two consecutive years and set the all-time NCAA FBS record for that category with 7,796 career yards. Johnson averaged 202.2 all-purpose yards per game in 2010. In Tulsa's 62-35 win over Hawai'i in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl, he averaged an incredible 21.73 yards per touch en route to 326 all-purpose yards.
In 2008, Norvell's receivers were a vital part of college football's most prolific offense. Tulsa averaged an astounding 569.9 yards per game that season to lead the country. The Golden Hurricane ranked second nationally in scoring (47.1points/game) and ninth in passing yards (301.8 yards/game). Tulsa also topped the country in total offense in 2007 (543.9 yards/game) and set 29 school records, 15 Conference USA marks and four NCAA records. The '07 Golden Hurricane became the first team in NCAA history to have a 5,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and three 1,000-yard receivers in a single season.
Prior to Tulsa, Norvell was an offensive graduate assistant at his alma mater, Central Arkansas. In addition to coaching receivers and H-Backs, he was a significant contributor to UCA's special teams.
Norvell was accomplished on the field and in the classroom at Central Arkansas. A four-year starter at receiver, he finished his career as the school's all-time leader in receptions (213) and ranked third in receiving yards (2,611). Norvell earned All-Gulf South honors and was the conference's 2001 Freshman of the Year. He also was a two-time first-team Gulf South All-Academic honoree. Norvell earned his bachelor's degree of education in social studies in 2005 and a master's degree in training systems in 2007, both from UCA.
Norvell is married to the former Maria Chiolino of Fort Smith, Arkansas. They have a daughter, Mila, who was born on June 23, 2014.