Sun Devil Nation, a number of the Sun Devil Family were recently awarded contract extensions, and I wanted to point out their achievements as each member plays a big part of elevating Sun Devil Athletics.
Head Football Coach Todd Graham, as we know, handled a lot of questions when he accepted leadership of our program about him staying here for the long term. While we have the contract, it doesn’t take a signature to prove of how invested he is in taking us to the Pac-12 Championship game, the Rose Bowl and beyond. When talking to Coach Graham, he has his mind on that day’s practice but also on the long-term plan. His work with our former players and honoring tradition has been incredible and energizing. Extending his contract is a simple reminder in the faith and belief we have in him and his wife Penni, who we know wants to be here for the long haul. He talks about following in the footsteps of Bruce Snyder and Frank Kush by creating his own legacy.
Shawn Griswold, our Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, oversees our sports performance department, having worked with Coach Graham previously at both Pitt and Tulsa. Keeping him was vital to the improvement of our program, and his extension is part of the process of making sure good people don’t leave Tempe. He is up early and goes home late, like so many in Sun Devil Athletics. He has put his imprint on student-athletes like Carl Bradford who has made great physical gains in the weight room, which you can see on YouTube. You also can’t overlook his work with Deantre Lewis, a student-athlete who has battled back from an injury that took both a physical and mental toll. Deantre is playing because of his own hard work, but also because “Coach Gris” and his staff are pushing all to bring us numerous Pac-12 titles.
Diving coach Mark Bradshaw has been coaching Olympians, NCAA champions, All-Americans and Pac-12 champions for a long time at ASU. He is a nine-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year. It only makes sense to make sure he is a part of our team when he gets the tenth. He is another coach who has done an amazing job.
I am honored that the Sun Devil family wants me to lead the program for the next five years. I am also incredibly pleased to think of all the coaches I am able to work with, the student-athletes I am able to watch compete and the amazing tradition we have across all of our sports. The contract extensions of those above I mentioned show just some of the great work being done by Sun Devil Athletics, with much more to come. There is a storied history here that deserves to be honored. Great student-athletes like Ryneldi Becenti who will see her number hung from the rafters in Wells Fargo Arena this season; Anthony Robles who continues to invest time in our University; Dallas Escobedo who is striving to lead her team to another National Championship and many more.
I look forward to being here for the next great story and am thankful to have the opportunity to lead this program to even greater heights in the future.